Over the weekend, large species of fish spotted washed ashore inOsu in Accraon Friday, April 2, 2021.
Besides, over the same weekend, dolphin-like mammalsand large numbers of different species of fish were washed ashore along the coasts of Axim-Bewire in the Nzema East Municipality of the Western Region, and Keta in the Volta Region.
In Keta case, dead tuna mainly werefound, at Axim-Bewire, dolphin look-alike mammals washed ashore were counted by the indigenes as being more than 60.
Environmental officers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in these areas could not prevent members of the public from collecting the dead creatures.
Therefore, most of the mammals, said to be melon-headed whales, for instance, have gone missing from the shore.
It is believed the people who took them are going to process them for consumption since they attract very high price in the market.
Currently, Marine Police Unit of the Ghana Police Service and the Fisheries Commission are trying to retrieve the mammals from those processing them.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission, Michael Arthur-Dadzie, says a team from the Fish Health Unit and the Fisheries Scientific Survey Division have collected samples of the Osu fish and sea water for examinations to, among other objectives,ascertain any pathological cause. The Ghanaian Times hopes they have done same for the other places.
The paper is happy that when the news of the dead fishes and mammals broke, public institutions that have mandates to deal with such situations rushed in to perform their various duties to safeguard public health and also prevent possible environmental pollution from the dead creatures.
However, we are worried for some reasons. One is based on the fact that we suspect the institutions concerned do not have active or sharp surveillance systems in place to inform them ahead of time to be proactive in such situations.
How come themelon-headed whales were taken away into private homes and now the police and the other institutions have a daunting task of fishing out those who collected them?
We believe concerned members of the public reported the incidents but the question is, did they do it in good time? And how swift did the relevant state institutions respond to such reports, timely or at their convenience?
We are also worried that the public still rush to collect dead edible creatures, fish or any other animal, for consumption without thinking of possible health implications and even death.
There have been such marine creature deaths before and probably because those who consumed the animals did not die or suffer immediate health hazards, the public think all is well. Remember, some of such health issues would not show now but later.
Our other concern is that it could be that those who collect such dead sea creatures would process them and sell to unsuspecting consumers, who may suffer health problems which they cannot easily trace to the consumption of the dead fish.
It is about time state institutions, including the National Commission on Civic Education and the district assemblies, educated the members of the public about such matters to safeguard public health. Also, relevant public institutions should be proactive in such incidents.