When tons of fish were found along the shores of the Osu Castle beach in Accra last Friday, April 2, 2021; many residents collected them, some for consumption while others also reportedly put their booty on sale.
The development gave rise to a busy weekend for two government agencies that has moved into action to ascertain the main reasons behind the issue.
Fisheries Ministry issues statement
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture disclosed over the weekend that they had started probing the mass death of fishes at the Osu Castle beach late last week.
The Ministry via a statement said it had dispatched a multi-pronged team to look into the issue.
“A team from the Fish Health Unit and the Fisheries Scientific Survey Division of the Fisheries Commission was dispatched to the area. Upon arrival at the beach, the team noticed that there were dead small pelagic and demersal fishes at the shore,” the statement read in part.
It added: “Initial observation of the fishes showed no wound /lesions on their bodies,” and that samples of the fish and sea water have been collected for further analysis.
“The colour of the sea and temperature are normal. We assure everyone that we are working hard to ascertain the actual cause of mortality of the fish,” the statement concluded.
EPA also probing the issue
The first state agency to comment on the development was the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, which said it was conducting investigations into the incident.
The EPA’s Executive Director told Accra-based Citi FM that even though they suspected that the fishes were not safe for consumption, they required scientific evidence to make a definitive call.
Henry Kokofu added that his outfit was also picking up additional information from some opinion leaders to help with its investigation.
“We’ve contacted an opinion leader who has been giving us more information. Trust me, If there is any situation like that we will take steps to track all of them as quickly as possible.
“But if there is anyone listening who has any information on how this issue came about, that person should contact us. We are using opinion leaders to gather pieces of information,” he added.
Below is the full statement from the Fisheries Ministry:
MINISTRY STATEMENT: INVESTIGATION OF FISH MORTALITY – OSU CASTLE BEACH – GREATER ACCRA REGION
Information got to Fisheries Commission yesterday, April 3, 2021, in the evening, about fish mortalities sighted at the Osu Castle Beach.
A team from the Fish Health Unit and the Fisheries Scientific Survey Division of the Fisheries Commission was dispatched to the area. Upon arrival at the beach, the team noticed that there were dead small pelagic and demersal fishes at the shore.
Initial observation of the fishes showed no wound /lesions on their bodies. It is to be noted that after two to three days of death of an animal pathological signs change. Samples of the fish were collected on ice to be examined critically in the laboratory.
Seawater samples have also been collected at the beach in the Korle Klottey District in the Greater Accra Region. Examinations will be carried out on the fish gills and other histological examinations will equally be conducted to ascertain any pathological cause.
The seawater samples collected will be analysed for physical, chemical and other biological parameters.
The colour of the sea and temperature are normal. We assure everyone that we are working hard to ascertain the actual cause of mortality of the fish.