Large quantities of tilapia fish which died on a farm along the Volta Lake in Asutuare in the Greater Accra Region and were bound for destruction have been smuggled out of the quarantine zone, 3news can authoritatively report.
Some residents of the area, who got information about the unwholesome fish being buried, rushed to the scene Friday morning and managed to smuggle out some of the strain of dead tilapia suspected to be genetically modified.
Large quantities of the fish, said to be about 18,000 tonnes, have since Thursday been destroyed by the Chinese-owned company, Fujian Farms at a site outside the farm premises in the Shai Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region.
The cause of the death of the tilapia, which were allegedly imported into the country, is not yet established as officials of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture are yet conduct laboratory tests.
The Ghana Aquaculture Association on Friday said the situation was contained and urged the public not to be alarmed over the incident which has caused panic, especially among the tilapia consuming public.
“We realised that the fishes were dying and then we alerted the Fisheries Commission. EPA [the Environmental Protection Agency] also moved in there to investigate the fish at the farm. The general public is not supposed to be worried about it,” President of the Association, Jennifer Sodji, told Citi FM Friday.
However, our correspondent Stanley Nii Blewu who was at the site Friday morning reported some residents in the area managed to smuggle some of these unwholesome dead fish from the burial site at Asutuare into a boat.
Attempts by officials of NADMO from the Lower Manya Krobo District to get these residents to seize the fish were unsuccessful as they sped off with the unwholesome tilapia in a boat on the Volta Lake.
“We have some residents who came to take some of the dead tilapia from the truck that brought in the dead fish.They packed everything unto their canoe and sped off,” Staley Nii Blewu reported Friday morning.
The Lower Manya Krobo NADMO Director Zackaria Adams who was at the scene Friday morning confirmed some residents had managed to take some of the unwholesome Tilapia from the place.
“What we came to see was surprising,” he told 3news.
He explained their decision to move from their district to the scene of the incident was necessitated by the fact that they have an interest in the Volta Lake which extends to their district.
He explained that they moved in to assess the impact of the incident on the lake, saying “If there is any threat to the lake it will affect our part”.
According to our correspondent, no official from the various government agencies responsible for the sector apart from NADMO was present at the scene as at 10:00am Friday.The farms have been shut down and the Chinese owners have since 6:00 am left the place leaving only their private security at the property, Stanley reported.
He said “the burial of the fishes have also been stopped on the orders of the owners. No reasons. He [one of the owners] drove into the burial site to just issue the directive to the excavator driver and went away”.
A double axle tipper truck of dead the tilapia fish from the farm was destroyed Thursday. One more Kia truck load of the fish was Friday morning destroyed. A second load which was to be destroyed was stopped by the company.