GHANA – The U.S. Agency For International Development (USAID) has joined forces with the government of Ghana to launch a scheme for Safe Fish Certification and Licensing.

This scheme aims to oblige fish processors to adopt a code of conduct on health and hygiene standards to avoid contamination of products in the production processes.

According to a statement copied to The Ghana News Agency, the scheme would foster access to higher, value-added markets in the country and help facilitate fish and fish products exportation from Ghana.

The Food and Drugs Authority in Ghana is also pushing for the adoption of the new standards by the domestic market while the Ghana Standard Authority certifies these standards for export markets.

During the launching ceremony Mr Paul Pleva, USAID Growth Office Director said, “We all know that fish is an important food here in Ghana.

It is a particularly important food for pregnant women and children because it is an inexpensive and readily available source of high-quality protein.

He further assured that the USAID is committed to working with all stakeholders in the country to ensure food security and a healthy, nutritious diet for Ghanaians.

The launching ceremony was attended by fishers, consumer groups, and government representatives, all important stakeholders in the fish industry.

In another event, Professor William Akpalu, Director of the Environment and Natural Resource Research Initiative called upon all stakeholders in the fishing industry to put in place proactive measures to protect and preserve marine resources.

Professor Akpalu was speaking during a workshop on ‘Emerging Issues on Capture Fisheries Management in Ghana’.

This workshop was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and brought together scientists and researchers from academia, and members of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the Fisheries among other stakeholders.

Professor Akpalu noted that the outlook of the industry is discouraging according to an analysis of the catch per vessel that has been carried out over the years, indicating a sharp reduction of fish captured in the country over time.

He insisted that fishery, just like any other renewable natural resource is such that, “if the rate at which you are extracting the resource exceeds the rate at which the resource is replenishing itself, eventually the stock will collapse.”

He is therefore calling upon the government to establish marine parks and build a good database for the fishing industry.

The workshop further discussed topics relating to improving the fishing value chain, revenue lost due to illegal and unregulated fishing, and the high cost of fish feed among others.

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