By Edmund Smith-Asante, ACCRA
Fish farming as practised in the country’s water bodies is causing major pollution and threatening the quality of drinking water, the Principal Basin Officer of the Densu Basin, Mr Ronald Abrahams, has stated.
According to him, cage culture or fish farming in the critical areas along major water bodies that supplied water to Ghanaians, such as the Weija, Volta and Bosumtwi lakes, were adding to the pollution of such sources through organic matter from the fish feed.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Abrahams said it came to the notice of the Water Resources Commission (WRC), through some partners along the Weija lake in 2013, that fish farming in the water was polluting the water.
He said after they had verified that fish farming was indeed polluting the water source, they called the fish farmers association’s leaders “and we gave a letter to them, to summon them to a meeting”.
Mr Abrahams said after the meeting that was held with the Ga South Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Jerry Akwei Thomson, in attendance, it was agreed that the fish farmers who had placed over 35 cages in the lake should relocate, which they complied with.
Organic matterOn whether some complaints had been received from the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) about pollution of the water source, he said “no, we didn’t wait until it becomes an issue. The moment they told us they are there, we realised that in the future the whole of the lake will be covered by cages and that will be significant, so we quickly moved in and stopped them.”
“They feed the fish and the organic matter gets into the water, so we immediately stopped it before it becomes a big problem,” he reiterated.
Mr Abrahams explained that although permits were issued for aquaculture, they were not meant for farming in the critical areas that would affect the quality of water that was treated. He added that a permit was needed to engage in aquaculture, to enable the WRC to regulate the activities of the farmers.
He said officials in Kumasi were also dealing with a similar issue of farming in Lake Bosumtwi, while the government had been informed about the concerns and plans were afoot to set up military bases in areas where water sources were under threat, to stop further pollution.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the WRC, Mr Ben Ampomah, has stated that the Weija and Bosomtwi lakes had been declared no-go areas for aquaculture, while the commission had embarked on a research on the maximum limit of the Volta Lake for aquaculture and when that was found, a cap would be put on aquaculture activities on the lake.
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This story was first published by the Daily Graphic on March 27, 2015