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Team SafeFish out to develop a rapid diagnostic field test kit for detecting chemically caught fish in Ghana

Over 1.3 billion US dollars in revenue is lost in West Africa yearly through IUU fishing activities. The already overfished small pelagic fishery of Ghana is additionally saddled with destructive fishing methods, spanning from the use of explosives such dynamite to toxic chemicals such as DDT (an insecticide banned in several countries), formaldehyde (carcinogenic reagent) carbide and detergents. Considering the potentially damaging implications for the ecosystem and health of consumers, it is imperative to develop rapid diagnostic test kits that can be used at landing beaches by fisheries officers to detect the presence of these harmful chemicals in landed fish.  To this end, a team of scientists (Team SafeFish) affiliated to the Centre for Coastal Management of the University of Cape Coast proposes to develop a low cost, easy to use and easy to maintain rapid field test kit that incorporates colour cued chemical reactions and laser spectroscopy for quick detection of these toxic chemicals. This will aid Ghana’s effort in curbing IUU fishing and safeguard the health of consumers.  The team is drawn from the Centre for Coastal Management, the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, the Laser and Fibre Optics Unit of Department of Physics, the Department of Forensic Sciences and the Department of Chemistry, all of the University of Cape Coast (UCC).

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