China Fujian Fishing lost GH¢8m from tilapia killings

BY: Jessica Acheampong
 The cages in which the fishes were reared was also empty as a result of the shutdown.
The cages in which the fishes were reared was also empty as a result of the shutdown.

The mass tilapia killings at the China Fujian Fishing Ghana Limited in Asutsuare on October 19, cost the company about GH¢8 million.

Managers of the farm said that although it remained shut after the incident, it continued to pay bills for the upkeep of the farm, such as salaries of the skeletal staff manning the place.

The company has so far sent home 400 workers, leaving about 100 on the farm, as the company awaits the outcome of investigations on the incident before it resumes operations.  

The 400 workers sent home are also paid stipends to keep them going.

Facility tour

The General Manager of the farm, Mr James Jao, told the Daily Graphic that there had not been any permanent lay offs but explained that some of the workers had to go home because there was no activity on the farm.

He said the company was not only losing revenue, but the traders who also bought from them had been affected by the shutdown.
 
“We are not working but we are paying bills and we have temporary staff here that we have to pay and that is a huge cost.

 We are also losing out on daily sales,” he said in an interview during a visit to the farm in Asutsuare in the Shai Osoduku District in the Greater Accra Region.

“We are currently waiting for the results, but the ones that have come in so far have indicated that there was no case of poisoning but we are waiting for the official results.”

“All the fishes are okay here. There is no commercialisation yet as we are waiting for the results from the investigations of our feed, fish and water samples,” he added.

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Site Visit

When the Daily Graphic visited the farm last Saturday, the team observed that the fish farm was virtually empty, with less activity going on.

The cages where the affected fishes were reared were also empty.

The only minimal activity was at the right side of the farm, where a skeletal staff were feeding the remaining healthy fingerlings.

The sheds that normally housed traders and other workers were also empty and the baskets used for supplies had been arranged at one corner of the shed.
Mr Jao, who conducted the team round, said the place was hitherto very busy.

Appeal

Management of the company also made a passionate appeal to the relevant authorities to release the reports on time, as it was adversely affecting their business.

Mr Jao explained that reporting the incident voluntarily was enough proof that it was more concerned about the health of consumers, rather than the profit it would make.

He said the company also took pains to report the women who were trying to smuggle the tilapia from the farm and caused their arrest.

He stressed that the company never made any attempt to smuggle the dead tilapia or sell to anybody because it was mindful of the implications and the health of consumers were very key to their operations.

Background

More than six tonnes of tilapia at the Fujian Fish Farm died under strange conditions last month.

 The affected fish were buried near the company’s premises under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
 
The company thereafter halted operations awaiting results of investigations into the cause.

Production in Ghana

The China Fujian Fishing Company has been operating in the country for the past three years. It is one of the largest tilapia suppliers to the market.

The production pond has the technology for breeding and rearing fingerlings and the manufacture of tilapia production cages.

China Fujian also had over 1,000 direct and indirect workers, while the rich and natural feed is produced locally with raw materials such as soybean and corn at its state-of-the-art fish feed plant.