Possibilities and challenges in the Ghana-Norway cooperation in aquaculture

In connection with the 8-week training of veterinary and fisheries officers from Ghana in fish health management, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute invited interested parties to the mini-seminar “Fish is development” at Sunndalsøra 25th of November with various topics within aquaculture.


The seminar was held as part of the closing session of the training program and provided opportunities for both investors and aspiring fish farmers in Ghana the opportunity to network and discuss project ideas.

In all, 30 scientists from 12 institutions and companies gave lectures on diverse topics relating to fish health management during the course duration. The institutions and companies that supported the Norwegian Veterinary Institute to deliver lectures were the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Matttilsynet),  Morefish Solutions, Cargill, the Fishery Directorate and Akvaforsk Genetics Center, among others.

The seminar was held as part of the closing session of the training program and provided opportunities for both investors and aspiring fish farmers in Ghana the opportunity to network and discuss project ideas.

The seminar was opened by the Mayor of Sunndal, Ståle Refstie and was followed immediately by the Deputy Director of Fish Health at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Dr Arne Flåøyen who spoke about the role of veterinarians in fish health management and the development of sustainable aquaculture business.  The exposure of the students to real challenges Norway faces with severe disease outbreaks provided the impetus and the need to adopt the one health concept to embrace fish welfare issues.

Investments wanted

The Director of Fish Health from Ghana’s Fishery Commission, Dr Peter Ziddah provided a situational analysis of the aquaculture sector that put a lot of things in perspective and provided interesting background as to why Ghana needed the collaborative training program. The threat of the indiscriminate use of antibiotics for example, makes it important for Ghana to put proper regulations in place to curb the practice.  

The importance of the Ghana-Norway cooperation in the aquaculture sector was reiterated with emphasis on possibilities and challenges. Ghana it was stated, does not want aid but investments in the sector as public private partnerships.   This educative topic was addressed by the Consultant from the Advisory office of NORAD and NORFUND, Mr Peter Molthe.

Risks and challenges – an investor’s assessment

When Executive of Sensacon Iver Kristian Arnesen took the floor the stage was set for some uncomfortable truths. His assessment of the risks and challenges in assessing capital for commercial aquaculture in African countries was thoughtfully provocative as he listed the unfavorable business climate in most Africa countries that historically scared away investors despite the potential for making real money. He was optimistic that the changing tides in some countries portend well since investment climate in these rapidly growing economies are becoming compatible with western business standards.

Eight weeks of training in fish health management for firm foundation

The “Fish is Development” mini-seminar has its beginnings in the desire by the Government of Ghana to lay firm foundations for its aquaculture sector.  The government sponsored twelve veterinary and fisheries officers to undertake training in fish health management. The trainees were drawn from different districts in the country’s aquaculture belt.  The sole purpose was for them to be in position to be change agents upon return to their respective stations. 

The government of Ghana subsequently made a formal request to the Norwegian Veterinary Institute to provide the eight week long training program. This resulted in a most comprehensive course content covering all aspects of fish health management as part of NORWAY GHANA TILAPIA INITIATIVE (NORGHATI), the consortium established by Morefish Solutions and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute to transfer Norwegian aquaculture knowledge and technology to support the industry in Ghana.

Organization and funding of NORGHATI

NORGHATI is led by Dr Kofitsyo Cudjoe, who is also the head of Food Bacteriology at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute and happens to be Ghana’s Honorary Consul to Norway. Dr Cudjoe was tasked with the organization of the training program and its implementation.  NORAD provided funding for the entire course preparation and delivery while the Norwegian Seafood Council supported a training module consisting of seafood safety and quality and illegal fishing. 

The training program, under the project name NORGHATI-HEALTH was undertaken for one week at the Veterinary Institute’s premises in Oslo, six weeks at Frøya (courtesy Blått Kompetansesenter) and one week at Sunndalsøra (courtesy Morefish Solutions).  Central in providing practical training in key subjects were Professor Trygve Poppe, Edgar Brun,  Brit Tørun  Torunn Taksdal, Mario Guarracino all of the Norwegian Veterinary Institute; Halvor Kittelsen and Arne Kittelsen of Morefish Solutions and Martin Binde of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The training ended with the issuance of post graduate certificates in aquatic animal health and involved training in:

  • General Introduction to Fish Biology and Health
  • Histopathology
  • Field Autopsies
  • Laboratory Diagnostics
  • Practical Fish Health Management and Welfare
  • Biosecurity and Contingency Plans
  • Sampling and Outbreak Investigations
  • Farm Inspections and Regulations
  • Seafood Safety and Quality
  • Illegal Fishing
  • Breeding and Genetics
  • Fish Feeds and Nutrition
  • Commercial Aquaculture.

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