The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development yesterday launched a National Safe Certification and Licensing Scheme (SFCLS) in Accra, to certify fish processors with the aim to check the poor handling and processing of fish in the country.
Adopted by the Ghana Standards Authority, (GSA) and the Foods and Drugs Authority, (FDA), the scheme is expected to bring to a halt the high level of microbiological and chemical contamination detected in processed fish in the market.
Under the scheme, the FDA will certify the adoption of these standard for the domestic market while the GSA certify the standard to foster access to higher, value-added market for export.
The SFCLS was developed and funded by the Feed the Future Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activities (GFRA). It a USAID five-year project to enhance the socio-economic wellbeing and local resilience of artisan fisher folk and communities.
The Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr Moses Anim, said the government had taken steps not only stocks recovery but prioritising on what happens after harvest to ensure there were no losses along the value chain.
He said the government promoted the use of improved smoking and handling technologies through the provision of 541 Ahotor ovens and 37 FAO-Thiaroye Processing Technique.
“Government through the Ministry supplied 50 fresh fish meters (torrymetre) to various landing beaches along the coast to help check the freshness of landed fish.
Several training had been organised for processors on hygienic fish handling and value to reduce losses, ensure food security and the safety of the seafoods,” he said.
Mr Anim said the long-term sustainability of Ghana’s fisheries resources was seriously threatened by increasing incidents of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUU fishing), to high levels of post-harvest losses due to poor fish handling and inadequate technologies in processing, storage and packaging.
He said the fisheries sector generated over US$ 1 billion in revenue each year and accounted for at least 1.04 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021, stressing that it employed about 2.6 million people.
The Director of the USAID Economic Growth Office, Mr Paul Pleva, said his outfit was ready to strengthen its collaboration with Ghana, to ensure food security and a healthy nutritious diet for Ghanaians.
He said the USAID had supported Ghana in the fisheries sector since 2009, and had designed to raise awareness and as well as promote the production and consumption of safe and hygienic fish on domestic regional market.