The Fisheries Commission has warned fishmongers using Monosodium Glutamate and other poisonous chemicals to process expired fishes to halt the practice since it is harmful to human health.
Mr Kwame Damoah, Acting Central Regional Director of the Commission, said the continued use of such chemicals on expired fish to look glossy to attract potential buyers is a great disservice to the nation.
He gave the warning at a Town Hall Meeting held in Anomabo, on Tuesday, to deliberate on the best ways of halting unreported and unregulated fishing practices in the Region.
The meeting was organised by the Roman Catholic Church, Parish Justice and Peace Committee (PJPC) in Anomabo in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the Mfantseman Municipal Assembly (MMA).
The platform sought to also engage citizens on several topical issues relating to decentralisation and local government administration, among other matters that are crucial to governance.
The Acting Regional Director of the Commission said some fishmongers along the coastal stretch have been known to buy rotten or expired fishes from some cold stores and used Monosodium Glutamate in preserving them.
Mr Damoah said the indiscriminate use of explosives, chemicals, under-sized fishing nets, light fishing and other aggregating devices for fishing were threats to the fisheries sector and pragmatic measures are needed to address them.
This anomaly, he explained, if not stopped could lead to the total collapse of the fishing industry by wiping out fishery resources with dire serious health consequences on consumers.
He said the Commission in collaboration with the Marine Police and other partners would soon deploy over 1,000 coastal guards to man the country’s territorial waters and warned that individuals or fisher folks who would be caught indulging in any form of illegal fishing practices would face the law.
He said under the Collaboratory Fisheries Management effort, fishermen have been given the authority to regulate fishing activities in their respective areas and to deal with people practising illegal fishing methods.
He said light fishing affected the reproductive system of the fishes adding that the current exploitation rate of the fisheries resources was not sustainable and urged all stakeholders in the fisheries industry to collaborate to stamp out unreported and unregulated fishing practices.
He said the collapse of the fishery industry would have grave consequences on the national economy such as job losses, malnutrition and other negative socio-economic repercussions that would be difficult to quantify.
In the efforts to arrest and reverse the situation, he said, the Ministry together with his outfit have developed a comprehensive Fisheries Management Plan to address the issues of effective enforcement of Fisheries legislation, improve information on fisheries biology and stock assessment to support the re-building strategy and reduce the current levels of fishing efforts and capacity.
He said other measures to include protecting marine habitat to conserve biodiversity and product certification and reducing post-harvest losses.
Mr Damoah said there is the need for fisher folks to collaborate with the Fisheries Law Enforcement Unit to clamp down on “galamsey in the fishing sector” for sustainable fishery conservation.
Various fishing groups and individuals also took turns to express their commitment to support and adopt best fishing practices, nothing that, vigilance against light fishing in the area, has yielded positive outcomes.
They suggested that the Ministry, replicate the setting up of such committees in other coastal communities, to protect marine life in the sea and other water bodies while taking prudent measures to enhance the well-being of fisher folks with prudent policy initiatives.