Ghana has announced a ban on the importation of Tilapia into the country following the emergence of a new virus that is causing significant deaths in farmed tilapia species.
Importation of ornamental fishes, mostly used as pets in homes have also been banned as the virus has been found in them, a statement from the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development said.
The ban, the Ministry said, takes effect from this Sunday July 1.
The Tilapia Lake Virus (TilV) which has no known cure, according to the Ministry, has been found in tilapia farms across Africa, Asia and South America and â€œrepresents a huge risk to the global tilapia industryâ€
Acting Chief Director of the ministry, Prof. Francis K.E. Nunoo, who signed the statement said the ban covers both live and dead ornamental fishes and tilapia species, including gametes-eggs and milt.
The statement said the emergence of the virus means â€œall countries should be vigilant and act quickly to investigate cases of mortalities in farmsâ€.
The ban, it explained, is one of the immediate actions being taken by the Ministry â€œto help prevent and control the virus since its treatment is not knownâ€.
It said the Ministry will follow up with capacity building and awareness creation programmes at different levels to farmers, hatchery operators, extension officers and consumers to support implementation of simple farm level biosecurity programmes.
â€œConsumers and stakeholders are therefore advised to report any issues arising or related to this issue (the virus) to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development,â€ it said and assured the public of updates of any development in due course.