Chinese tilapia farms face imminent closure – Fisheries Ministry

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has warned that Chinese farms found using exotic strings in the production of tilapia will face indefinite closure if found guilty.

Tilapia production by the Chinese has been a major worry in Ghana, after several reports on the mode of production of the fishes raised concerns.

The director for aquaculture of the Mininstry, Mr. Matthew Oyih, speaking to Goldstreet Business, however says his outfit has taken the necessary measures to ensure the safety of consumers of tilapia across the country after several concerns were raised on the production of tilapia by the Chinese.

Investigations conducted have revealed fishes produced using the exotic strings mature in a relatively shorter period compared to the species produced locally.

“The issues we have with the Chinese so far is the fact that they are using the exotic strings on tilapia which grows faster that our local and that doesn’t give a level playing field of other players in the industry who are using the local strings”, he lamented.

“A research has been conducted and we have preliminary results here but the full report will be out next week which will be presented by a professor from the Virginia State University in the USA,” he revealed.

According to him, if it is confirmed in the report that exotic strings are being used by the Chinese, then those farms will be closed down indefinitely.

What is the exotic string?

The exotic string is a type of tilapia that cannot be found in Ghana. It is indigenous and alien to us and not also in our system or environment according to Mr. Ayih. He also noted that such strings have tendencies to disturb the aquatic environment.

Closure of Chinese farm at Asutsuare

The Ministry of Fisheries ordered the indefinite closure of Fujian Farms a Chinese farm at Asutsuare on Tuesday October 23, after tonnes of tilapia were destroyed after they were found dead.

The managers of the farm have however denied claims that the tilapia was imported from China. According to managers of the farm, the fishes are not imported from China but say they were bred locally.

The Ministry has however assured the public that it is safe to buy tilapia from the market.

The cause of tilapia mortality is not yet known. But some reports indicate that the tilapia died because they may be a strain of a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) that could not survive conditions in the fish ponds in Accra.

By Nana Afrane Asante