Over 100 tonnes of tilapia have been lost on fish farms in the Eastern Region due to suspected complications from cross-breeding.
These losses come less than two months after similar tilapia deaths were recorded at Fujian farm, a Chinese fish farming company at Asutsuare, where over 40 tonnes of fish were destroyed in a suspected fish poisoning.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Fisheries Commission and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) have visited some affected farms and supervised mass burial of tonnes of unwholesome dead tilapia.
Even though the cause of deaths is not readily known, authorities from the EPA, Fisheries Commission and NADMO are suspecting a failed cross-breeding with foreign big tilapia and multiple over caging to cash in on the festive season.
Owiredu Agyemang, the Eastern Regional Operations Director of NADMO told Citi News, ” from the intelligence report we gathered, the incident happened last week Thursday, so NADMO proactively responded to the news of an outbreak of tilapia mortality and when we got to the farms it was very severe and serious comparing it to the Asutsuare incident.”
‘Koobi’ (Salted fish) scare
Owiredu Agyemang further revealed that some of the fishing companies had already processed the dead tilapia as dry salted fish locally known as “koobi”.
“When we got to the farms we noticed that some of them had already processed the unwholesome dead tilapia into dry salted fish, what we call koobi in high tonnage".
Information available to Citi News indicates that some of the companies had already deposited the unwholesome dead tilapia into the Volta lake to cut down cost of hiring a backhoe to dig pits for burial.
Owiredu Agyemang further revealed that with the help and supervision of the EPA and the Fisheries Commission, fishing companies which had processed the dead tilapia were made to bury them.
“So as a technical team led by the Eastern Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency we ensured that whatever that had been processed in large tonnage at Vision 2000 was buried”.
NADMO is also making arrangements with the National headquarters to deliver two speedboats to help them patrol and monitor activities at the farms dotted along the Volta Lake.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Samuel Nuertey Ayertey, who was briefed on the development in a REGSEC meeting has tasked the team from NADMO, EPA and the Fisheries Commission, to intensify their surveillance to ensure the public is protected from consuming unwholesome tilapia.