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Ministry begins mass immunisation of fish farms

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The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has begun a mass immunisation of fish farms to curtail the Infectious Spleen and Kidney Virus diseases in fish.

The exercise follows recent mysterious losses of tilapia in fish farms along the Volta Lake. The Asutuare area in the Shai Osudoku District recorded one of the largest viral outbreaks in October 2018.

The vaccination is done via an injection in the abdomen of the fingerlings.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs. Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, told journalists at Forsell Farms, a fish farm at Kpotame, near Sogakope, last Monday that the exercise had become necessary due to how critical the sector was to the economy.

She said the mass immunisation exercise was being carried out by the ministry and the Fisheries Commission on fish farms along the Volta Lake to address the recent fish deaths, since the virus and organisms that caused the outbreak were found on those farms.

She commended the Ministry of Finance for making available GH¢2 million out of the estimated GH¢12 million needed for the exercise over a three-year period and was optimistic that more funds would be made ready for use in due course.

“We have been trying to do this for some time now and now that funds have been made available, we intend to cover all fish farms on the Volta Lake,” she said.

Mrs. Quaye was hopeful that the “Finance Ministry will make more funds available to sustain the mass immunisation”.

Strategy

Ten vaccinators are carrying out the exercise with each expected to vaccinate 1,500 fish a day, totalling 150,000 fish vaccinated in a day.

Mrs. Quaye said it was the ministry’s expectation that the exercise would cover a large number of farms in order to stop fish dying, adding that the state intervened to ensure there was no further outbreak.

Livelihoods

According to her, outbreaks such as that which occurred could wipe out farms if not handled well and would lead to economic and social losses as several people could lose their livelihoods.

She disclosed that already, 50 fish farms had folded up with accompanying job losses due to the outbreak.

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