In all, 25 members of the association from Accra and Tema who were taken through a two-week training course designed by the department were also introduced to a modern fish processing technology which uses gas for smoking fish instead of firewood.
During the two weeks the participants were taken through fish identification, safe fish handling, the benefits of small scale fish processing compared to large scale fish processing, technologies for fish processing, quality assurance, packaging methods, storage and transportation, record keeping, marketing methods, customer relations and practical fish processing.
The participants who were all women were taught how to prepare Thrunnus Albacares, popularly known as Yellowfin Tuna; Butter Fish (Stromateus Fiatola) and Chub Makeral (Scomber Scolias) and how to smoke them with gas ovens.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the lead facilitator of the programme Professor Francis Kofi Ewusie Nunoo, said improving the quality of processed fish was critical to improving marketing opportunities for the processors as quality standards were an important requirement for trading in fish across borders and in the local market.
He said through the course, which was designed with support from the Skills Development Fund, the department aimed at improving the handling, processing and packaging practices of fish in line with international standards.
Prof Nunoo said the gas oven which was developed in the country by the Ghana Regional Appropriate Technology Industrial Service (GRATIS) Foundation was safe as it produced low Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), a cancer causing chemical found in the smoke from firewood used for smoking fish.