The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture has begun mass immunisation of fish farms in order to curtail further occurrences of fish diseases.
The exercise comes after the recent strange deaths of tilapia in fish farms along the Volta Lake.
In an interview with journalists on Monday, December 30, 2019, at Forsell Farms, a fish farm at Kpotame near Sogakope in the Volta Region, the sector minister Mrs. Elizabeth Afoley Quaye said the exercise has become necessary due to the critical nature of the sector to the economy.
She said mass immunisation exercise is being carried out by the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission on fish farms along the Volta Lake as a way of addressing the recent fish kills since the virus and organisms that caused the outbreak were found on those farms.
She commended the Ministry of Finance for allocating GH¢2 million out of the estimated GH¢12 million needed for the exercise over a three-year period and was optimistic that more funds would be made available.
"We have been trying to do this for some time now and now that funds have been made available, we intend to cover all fish farms on the Volta Lake", she said.
In all ten vaccinators are carrying out the exercise and each vaccinator is able to vaccinate 1,500 fishes a day.
The Minister expressed the hope that the exercise would cover a large chunk of farms to curtail fish deaths, adding that the intervention by the State was to ensure that no further outbreak is recorded.
According to her outbreaks could wipe out farms if not handled well and lead to economic and social losses as several people can lose their livelihoods.
She disclosed that already 50 fish farms have folded up due to these outbreaks, resulting also in job losses.
Dr Peter Ziddah, Head of Fish Health Unit of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture who is leading the team of technical officers for the immunisation exercise said from 2014, there have been an upsurge in infections including streptococcal 1A and B which were dealt with.
He said towards the end of 2018, the infectious spleen and kidney virus was also noticed so the ministry triggered the immunisation exercise, adding that continuous immunisation will curtail further occurrences.
He said fishes weighing 0.3 grams upwards were immunised with the irido vaccines, explaining that the immunisation has no public health risks since the disease cannot be transferred from fish to humans. He thus encouraged the continuous patronage of tilapia.
The Managing Director of Forsell Farms, Mr. Evans Kwadzo Danso commended the government and the ministry for the intervention, adding that the outbreak of the disease was stressing up a number of fish farms along the Volta Lake and the farmers were at a loss as to what to do since vaccines were expensive.