GHANA – The Fisheries Commission, the implementing agency of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) in Ghana, has developed a new requirement to regulate aquaculture in the country in order to help pump up farm productivity and ensure safe and quality fish for the market.
The Fish Farming Certification Protocol is currently being validated by experts and stakeholders in the aquaculture industry for necessary inputs before it is forwarded to the cabinet for consideration. The new protocol, which is a review of an existing one-stop certification, has been split into three-tier certification criteria, with a focus on ensuring a more practical and step-by-step approach to the adoption of good aquaculture practices and food safety standards.
Spearheading the project are the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (WRI-CSIR) and KIT Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands and WorldFish under the Tilapia Seed Project.
Accordingly, a two-day validation workshop was held in Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region to present the reviewed tiered certification protocol to farmers and stakeholders for awareness and validation. The workshops will be held in the southern, middle and northern parts of the country. The first workshop hosted farmers, stakeholders, aquaculture sector regulators and individual experts from the Eastern, Greater Accra and Volta regions.
The middle zone workshop will host farmers and stakeholders from the Bono, Bono East, Ahafo and Ashanti regions, while that of the northern zone is expected to host stakeholders from the Upper East, Upper West, Savanah, North East and Northern regions.
Dr Seth Agyakwah, a researcher at the WRI-CSIR, observed that the objective of a certification system was to ensure that products were of good quality and safe for human consumption. He said in 2017, a one-stop certification protocol for aquaculture establishments, i.e., hatcheries, grow-outs and feed mills) was introduced in Ghana’s aquaculture industry by the Fisheries Commission.
The Head of the Inland Fisheries Division at the Fisheries Commission, Dr Emmanuel Nii Aryee, said with a collaborative effort, the Tilapia Seed Project sought to develop a seed dissemination programme, with attendant research that had been executed to ensure that farmers had equitable distribution of good and quality fingerlings for production.
He enlightened that at the heart of the project is the health aspect because it is the state of the fingerlings that will determine the end product, which essentially ought to be of high quality and free from diseases or contamination.
A researcher and Chairman of the workshop, Dr Eddie Kofi Abban, underscored the magnitude of inputs made by participants as they would help progress the country’s fisheries sector.