Ban on Tilapia, ornamental imports over fears of new virus

Government bans tilapia import

Importation of tilapia into the country is to be temporarily embargoed, as reports of an emerging Tilapia Lake Virus (TILV) have been recorded across the globe, a statement from the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) has directed.

The ban, effective 1st July, 2018 to 31st December, 2018, covers importation of all ornamental fishes and tilapia species (live and dead), including gamete-eggs and milt.

According to the statement issued from the ministry and signed by its Acting Chief Director, Prof. Francis Nunoo, cases have been reported across Africa, Asia and South America which indicates that the virus represents a huge risk to the global tilapia industry.

The ban forms part of urgent measures being taken by MoFAD to help “prevent” and “control” spread of the virus as there is presently no known treatment; a worrying situation as the species are amongst the most consumed in the world.

Consumers and stakeholders have therefore been advised to report any issues related to the ban or the TILV virus to MoFAD for prompt action to be taken.

“The ministry will follow up with capacity building and awareness creation programmes at different levels to farmers, hatchery operators, extensions officers and consumers and the general public to support implementation of simple farm level biosecurity programmes,” the statement read.

The Tilapia Like Virus (TILV) is a newly emerging virus that is associated with significant mortalities in farmed tilapia. It has no known treatment.

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