Ghana Standards Authority revises fish standards

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has met stakeholders in the fishery sector to brief them on the Revised National Fish Standards and to discuss issues affecting the sector.

The stakeholders, comprising vessel and land establishment operators, discussed how they could help implement the relevant quality and safety standards in the fishing industry to ensure safe fish for consumption.

Safe fish are without contaminants harmful to human consumption, which could cause allergies, itching and cancers and in some cases death.

Most smoked fish are said to contain histamine, which causes reactions including asthma.

The GSA, under a building capacity project by UNIDO and Ministry of Trade and Industry, has developed and revised the National Quality Standards for the fish industry, hence the need to brief stakeholders on the requirements.

A three-day workshop was therefore held for stakeholders who were taken through the standardisation process; the GS929 Code of Hygienic Practices for fish; GS 236 Requirements for establishing Checks system, GS 1131 Code of Practice for the Reduction of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons; and Role of the GSA in the fish industry.

Professor Alex Dodoo, Director General of the Authority, said it is responsible for all fish exports to the European Union and other countries, and has to develop the standards to help regulate the sector and ensure fish exported do not contain metallic contaminants and other harmful substances.

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He said the workshop will help find solutions to problems in the industry and discuss quality management systems to increase revenue for fisher-folk.

“We see the fish industry as a very powerful sector for exports and Ghana stands to gain millions of dollars from it. We do know that there are big companies coming to produce fish, package it, and export it out of the country – it’s all good, but we want to do more.

“And, obviously, the best way to compete in the world is through your standards; the quality of your fish, and the fact that they don’t contain any harmful substances.”

Prof. Dodoo expressed concern over the growing aquaculture fishing industry in Ghana, which makes regulation “a bit dicey”.

He said the GSA is also working to ensure that fish consumed is safe – adding that the use of car tyres to smoke fish and other animals for consumption produces hydrocarbons which increase the risk of cancer.

Mr. Joseph Korto, a fish processor, appealed to the GSA to build an office in Tema, where most of the fish companies are based, for easy access to enhanced customer care.

He said the GSA must have standby machines and equipment to quickly replace old machines that break down.

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