Fishermen have resorted in using toxic products in order to fish more than usual while smoking units and individuals in the smoking sector also use materials like worn-out tyres and plastic containers to smoke fish which puts consumers at risk. The practice that is gaining grounds in some areas of Douala II is not without health hazards. Following the gravity of the situation, the Sub Divisional Delegate for Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industry, Alain Ghomsi, led a delegation of sanitary inspectors on the field and began seizing fish so caught or treated and sensitising stakeholders on the effects. To him, consumption of such fish leads to tuberculoses and terminal diseases like cancer. Since the practice is mostly carried out by infiltrators without medical and veterinary certificates, Alain Ghomsi advised consumers to insist that vendors should present their certificates before purchasing both fresh and dry fish. In addition to the certificates, vendors must put on aprons or jackets not just to look good but also to prevent diseases from them to the product.
To ensure quality control, the Divisional Delegate of MINEPIA for Wouri, Dr Mimbang Goy Iréne said additional staff were recruited to reinforce daily inspection on the field. They inspect smoking units to make sure that only wood from consumable fruit trees are used and not bad quality wood and materials like plastic, tyres and old dresses as it is the case with some vendors. The Divisional Delegate intimated that repressive measures will be meted on defaulters following the 2000 law regulating sanitary inspection. Implementing the law to the letter will entail slamming a two to six year jail term with hard labour and a fine between FCFA 50,000 and FCFA five million on perpetuators. Bad quality fish are recognised from the softness, smell, presence of maggots and when they attract flies. In three days, the operation that will run till the end of January, will led to the seizing and destroying of some 35 kg of bad quality fish.