It is emerging that, a number of residents of Osu Klottey Municipality have consumed the fishes that were washed ashore over the weekend despite a stem warning that the harvest could be unwholesome for domestic consumption.
Some coastal communities including Axim in the Western Region and Osu in the Greater Accra region woke up to the bizarre incident of fish mortality prompting government agencies to commence investigations into the immediate causes.
“We didn’t know that the fishes were poisoned and as fishermen we took them home for consumption, but after we got the information that the fish might be contaminated, we started taken palm oil, hoping that, it will kill any poisonous substance” a fisherman at Osu said.
However, as part of measures to avert any further threat to the public health, Minister of Fisheries and Aqua Culture, Mavis Hawa Koomson has engaged some of the fishing communities on the recent happenings where it emerged that some residents are already consuming the unwholesome fish.
The Minister has therefore appealed to residents of the coastal communities particularly the Osu Klottey Korle municipality to corporate with government by withdrawing the fishes from the market.
She is also warning against the consumption of the yet to be examined fishes, adding that, those who have eaten the fish should own up so that they can be monitored about their health condition and treated if it becomes necessary.
FDA calls for volunteering of information
Meanwhile, the Food and Drugs Authority says, it will depend on the community to volunteer information to government on the where about of the fishes and urged all to help get them out of the market.
It has also indicated that, it has begun laboratory investigations into whether some fish washed ashore the Osu Castle are good for consumption.
A statement issued by the Authority noted: “The FDA, in collaboration with other state agencies, has been engaged in investigating and addressing the matter of various species of fish washed ashore on some beaches since Friday, 2 April 2021”.
“While laboratory investigations are ongoing, the Authority warns the general public to desist from consuming the fish washed ashore in view of the potential risk to health and safety.”
The FDA further stated that inspection teams have been dispatched to fish markets including the Osu Mandela market in the Korle-Klottey Municipal Assembly, to prevent the washed-ashore fish from entering into the food chain.
The Authority has also intensified its public education and sensitisation on quality parameters and signs of contamination of fish in the fishing communities and fish markets.
The FDA’s regional offices along the coastline in the Central and Volta regions have also been alerted and are replicating similar efforts in towns along the coast.
The FDA further advised the general public “to be guided by the freshness of the eyes and redness of the gills of fish that they seek to purchase”.
“The washed-ashore fish, typically, show signs of popped out and unclear eyes, dull colouration of gills, bloating around the abdominal areas and/or possible oozing of foul scented fluids”.
“The public is, hereby, advised to report all suspected cases of possession or selling of these washed-ashore fish to the FDA or local authorities”.
“The consuming public is also cautioned to be wary of both fresh and recently smoked fish which are being sold at unusually low prices”, the statement added.