Tuna Shortage Hits Tema
There is a shortage of tuna on the market one month into the three months’ closed season for tuna vessels, the Ghana News Agency (GNA) has reported.
Mr. Frank Aihoon, President of the Ghana Tuna Association (GTA), told the GNA in an interview in Tema that there was a closed season for the Tuna vessels spanning from January to March 2023, which might be the cause of the tuna shortage on the market.
Mr. Aihoon explained that the closed season was based on scientific research conducted by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
The ICCAT is an International Commission responsible for the conservation and management of tuna, and other marine resources in the Atlantic Ocean.
He added that to sustain the industry and stock of tuna in the Atlantic, ICCAT found out that the fishes spawn between January and March and, therefore, the vessels must allow them to reproduce peacefully.
He said tuna might be available on the markets from April, explaining that the tuna fishing license was issued on quarterly basis and, therefore, even though the closed season would end in March, vessel operators often would start operations in April, which would enable them to fully utilize their license for the next quarter.
He said the vessel’s owners used the moratorium period to repair their equipment, adding that such repairs also provide alternative jobs to the crew members to prevent them from becoming seasonal unemployed people.
Mr.Aihoon encouraged the public to use other tuna-like fishes as alternatives for the available tuna for their food, as they wait for the closed season to end.
He said even though Ghana consumed a lot of fish, the industry was unable to provide enough to meet the demands and, therefore, the importation of fish was done to supplement it.
He further said Ghanaians consumed only about 20 per cent of the annual tuna caught by vessels within its jurisdiction, while the remaining 80 per cent was exported to Europe where tuna consumption and demand were very high.
Meanwhile, scores of tuna dealers told the GNA at Tema that for the past two weeks, they have not been able to sell tuna to their customers. They complain about the unavailability of tuna, as the vessels are not supplying them to sell to their customers, a situation they said has forced them to go into the selling of other fish species.
The Tuna Sellers said to ensure they stay in business, they have developed a strategy of informing customers about the shortage of tuna on the market and convincing them to buy other species such as shark mackerel (Saflo).
Smoked tuna is a popular fish on most markets across the country, as it is mostly used in soup and stews; chop bars or eateries mostly like using it for its economical reason, it has fewer bones and is fleshy.
Tuna is said to be a healthy source of omega-three fatty acids, high in protein and other nutrients.