Fish sellers in the Central Business District of Accra, are mournful that, news of “fish mortality” will ‘destroy’ their market.
This followed the discovery of large numbers of different species of fish washed ashore along the coasts of Osu in Accra, Axim-Bewire in the Nzema Municipality of the Western Region, and Keta in the Volta Region, over the weekend.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Food and Drug Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other sector agencies are investigating the cause of the “fish mortality” and cautioned against its consumption, sale and presence in the Ghanaian food chain.
In an interaction with some traders in Accra, Ms. Lydia Botwe, a fish seller, said the incident could have a repercussion on their business because people would hesitate to purchase smoked sliced fishes if they were not sure of the sources.
A 45-year-old fishmonger, who sought anonymity, also said, until the investigations were over, their business would slow further down after COVID-19 had thrown it almost out of gear.
Mrs. Abigail Shia, another fish seller, said anytime such reports came out, the fish industry suffered heavily, though they would not sell fishes they were not sure of.
“…I might be scared because I would not know whether they were poisoned or not and I wouldn’t want to put the lives of my customers at risk. Since I was born, I have never seen anything like this before, this is very strange.
“Fishes, especially the big ones are been shunned in the market for some days now. So even if we get some soon, people will be scared to buy them because they might suspect that they could be from the washed ashore ones,” she lamented.
Meanwhile, some consumers the Ghana News Agency spoke to, said they were staying away from large fishes that were sliced and smoked on the market for a period.
Mr. Kofi Ansah, a dealer in mobile phone accessories, said his religion did not allow him to consume dead fish, however, he believed there was nothing wrong with the fishes and that they might have been killed with the torches thrown at them by fishermen.
Mrs. Margaret Afia, a middle-aged woman, said she would be using dried fish until she was sure that such fishes were off the market.
“We all know that every fish we consume is harvested by our fishermen, so how can we consume fishes that no one knows what killed them,” she said.
For Mrs. Faustina Amoabeng, also in her middle age, she saw nothing wrong with consuming fishes washed ashore.
“When you go to buy fish, you don’t wait to see the fish alive and in motion before you buy it. Sometimes we purchase fishes that have been in the fridge for months without knowing how they died. Are they all not dead fishes?
“Maybe it is God who has seen the hardships we are going through as a country and has decided to bless us with the fishes for food,” she said.