International Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology

Submit a Manuscript

Publishing with us to make your research visible to the widest possible audience.

Propose a Special Issue

Building a community of authors and readers to discuss the latest research and develop new ideas.

Research Article |

Microbiological Quality of Rabbit Fish (Signus Sutor) and Food Safety Practice of Fish Handlers from Selected Landing Sites in Zanzibar

The study aimed to evaluate the handling practices and microbiological contamination of pathogenic bacteria in Rabbit Fish (Signus Sutor) from Zanzibar, specifically at four landing sites: Malindi, Mazizini, Kizimkazi, and Matemwe. A semi-structured questionnaire and checklist were used to assess hygiene practices by fish handlers, and swabbing method was used to assess cleanliness of the boat and landing floor before fish were collected for consumption. Standard methods for microbial analysis (ISO7218:2007(E)) were used to analyze Total viable counts, S. aureus, E. coli, and Salmonella. The mean total viable (TVC) ranged from 2.82-3.30 log CFU/g across landing sites. S. aureus was the most frequently isolated bacterium, with an isolation rate of 53.33% in Malindi, 60% in both Mazizini and Kizimkazi, and 46.67% in Matemwe. E. coli was present but less frequently, with isolation rates of 6.67% in Malindi, 33.33% in Mazizini and Kizimkazi, and 20% in Matemwe. Salmonella spp was absent in all samples, with a 0% isolation rate across landing sites. There was positive correlation of 0.59 and 0.65 between fish contamination and swab samples from boats and landing floors respectively. Inadequate practices by fish handlers, such as not wearing gloves, neglecting health checks, and insufficient training, were revealed. The facilities used were also poor, with poor sanitation and low-quality raw materials. The findings emphasize the urgent need for intervention measures to enhance fish quality and safety in Zanzibar, including improvements in raw materials, infrastructure, training, and good practices throughout the fish value chain.

Landing Sites, Rabbit Fish (Signus surtor), Contamination, Microbiological Quality, E. coli, S. aureus, Salmonella and Food Safety

APA Style

Nassor Mohamed, Z., Issa-Zacharia, A., Nyamete, F. (2023). Microbiological Quality of Rabbit Fish (Signus Sutor) and Food Safety Practice of Fish Handlers from Selected Landing Sites in Zanzibar. International Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 8(4), 98-109.

ACS Style

Nassor Mohamed, Z.; Issa-Zacharia, A.; Nyamete, F. Microbiological Quality of Rabbit Fish (Signus Sutor) and Food Safety Practice of Fish Handlers from Selected Landing Sites in Zanzibar. Int. J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2023, 8(4), 98-109. doi: 10.11648/j.ijmb.20230804.15

AMA Style

Nassor Mohamed Z, Issa-Zacharia A, Nyamete F. Microbiological Quality of Rabbit Fish (Signus Sutor) and Food Safety Practice of Fish Handlers from Selected Landing Sites in Zanzibar. Int J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2023;8(4):98-109. doi: 10.11648/j.ijmb.20230804.15

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Aboagye, E., Tano-Debrah, K., & KUNADU, A. P.-H. (2020). Microbial quality of fish along with the Tilapia, African catfish and Sardinella artisanal value chains in Kpong and James Town, Ghana. International Journal of Bonorowo Wetlands, 10 (1).
2. Abubakar, Z. M., Rabia, A., Ussi, A. M., & Asma, A. H. (2020). Does the Prevailing Awareness Reflect on Hygiene Practices for Handling Fish in Zanzibar? Age, 20 (29), 30-39.
3. Adebayo, E., Polycarp, M., & Anyanwu, S. (2016). Analysis of Fish Value Chain in Yola area of Adamawa State, Nigeria.
4. Adedeji, O., Okerentugba, P., Innocent-Adiele, H., Okonko, I., Ojeniyi, S., Adejoro, S., & Mohamed, S. (2012). Benefits, public health hazards and risks associated with fish consumption. New York Science Journal, 5(9), 33-61.
5. Akila, N. (2018). Isolation and identification of prevalent bacterial pathogens from an exotic fish Tilapia zillii and Oreochromis mossambicus. International Journal of Green Pharmacy (IJGP), 12(03).
6. Akintola, S. L., & Fakoya, K. A. (2017). Small-scale fisheries in the context of traditional post-harvest practice and the quest for food and nutritional security in Nigeria. Agriculture & Food Security, 6 (1), 1-17.
7. Al-Shabib, N. A., Mosilhey, S. H., & Husain, F. M. (2016). Cross-sectional study on food safety knowledge, attitude and practices of male food handlers employed in restaurants of King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. Food control, 59, 212-217.
8. Ali, H. H. (2014). Isolation and identification of Staphylococcus bacteria from fish of fresh water and its antibiotics sensitivity in Mosul city. Basrah Journal of Veterinary Research, 1 (1), 33-42.
9. Awot, T., Tehetna, A., Shishay, A., Belayneh, G., Yohannes, H., Tsegay, T., & Netsanet, B. (2019). Isolation and Antimicrobial Sensitivity Testing of Escherichia coli from Fish Meat Retailing Shops of Mekelle City, Ethiopia. Momona Ethiopian Journal of Science, 11 (2), 229-238.
10. Bedane, T. D., Agga, G. E., & Gutema, F. D. (2022). Hygienic assessment of fish handling practices along production and supply chain and its public health implications in Central Oromia, Ethiopia. Scientific Reports, 12 (1), 13910.
11. Bediang, V. I., Bouka, E., Sedzro, K. M., Soncy, M., Anani, K., Dossou, K.,... Gbeassor, M. (2020). ASSESSMENT OF THE MICROBIOLOGICAL QUALITY OF FRESH FISH AT THE FISHERY HARBOUR OF LOME IN TOGO. International Journal of Advanced Research, 8, 123-129.
12. Begum, M., Ahmed, A. T. A., Das, M., & Parveen, S. (2010). A comparative microbiological assessment of five types of selected fishes collected from two different markets. Advances in Biological Research, 4 (5), 259-265.
13. Berrang, M., Frank, J., & Meinersmann, R. (2013). Contamination of raw poultry meat by airborne Listeria originating from a floor drain. Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 22 (1), 132-136.
14. Beyari, E., Aly, M., & Jastaniah, S. (2021). Incidence of Foodborne Bacteria That Cause Serious Health Hazards in Fish: A Review. Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research, 11 (4), 60-66.
15. Budiati, T., Rusul, G., Wan-Abdullah, W. N., Arip, Y. M., Ahmad, R., & Thong, K. L. (2013). Prevalence, antibiotic resistance and plasmid profiling of Salmonella in catfish (Clarias gariepinus) and tilapia (Tilapia mossambica) obtained from wet markets and ponds in Malaysia. Aquaculture, 372, 127-132.
16. CAC. (2003). Recommended International Code of Practice: General Principles of Food Hygiene, CAC/RCP 1–1969, Rev. 4–2003. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome.
17. Çakıroğlu, F. P., & Uçar, A. (2008). Employees’ perception of hygiene in the catering industry in Ankara (Turkey). Food control, 19 (1), 9-15.
18. Chatreman, N., Seecharran, D., & Ansari, A. A. (2020). Prevalence and distribution of pathogenic bacteria found in fish and fishery products: A review. Journal of Fisheries and Life Sciences, 5 (2), 53-65.
19. Choudhary, D., Jawa, C., Dhuria, D., Sain, M., Mehara, M., & Kalwaniya, M. K. (2022). Prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus in raw fish meat samples and assessment of the coagulase test in the identification of Staphylococcus aureus isolates.
20. Dworkin, S. L. (2012). Sample size policy for qualitative studies using in-depth interviews. In (Vol. 41, pp. 1319-1320): Springer.
21. Edirisinghe, S., Wickramasinghe, I., Wansapala, M., & Warahena, A. (2022). Adoption of hygienic practices in selected fish markets along the fish supply chain, in Sri Lanka.
22. Elhadi, N., Aljeldah, M., & Aljindan, R. (2016). Microbiological contamination of imported frozen fish marketed in Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. International Food Research Journal, 23 (6), 2723.
23. FAO. (2022). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022. Towards Blue Transformation. Rome, FAO.
24. Gamarra, N., Costa, A., Ferreira, M., Diele-Viegas, L., Santos, A., Ladle, R.,... Campos-Silva, J. (2023). The contribution of fishing to human well-being in Brazilian coastal communities. Marine Policy, 150, 105521.
25. Grema, H., Kwaga, J., Bello, M., & Onimisi, H. (2018). Assessment of food hygiene knowledge, attitudes and practices of fish handlers in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Advances in Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 7 (3), 131-137.
26. Gupta, B., Ghatak, S., & Gill, J. (2013). Incidence and virulence properties of E. coli isolated from fresh fish and ready-to-eat fish products. Veterinary World, 6 (1).
27. Hashanuzzaman, M., Bhowmik, S., Rahman, M. S., Zakaria, M. A., Voumik, L. C., & Mamun, A.-A. (2020). Assessment of food safety knowledge, attitudes and practices of fish farmers and restaurants food handlers in Bangladesh. Heliyon, 6 (11).
28. Jalal, K., Akbar John, B., Lyana, N., Faizul, H., Noor Isma Yanti, M., Irwandi, J., & Bulbul, M. (2017). Comparative study on spoilage and pathogenic bacteria in selected commercial marine and freshwater fishes. International Food Research Journal, 24.
29. Jegadeeshkumar, D., Saritha, V., Moorthy, K., & Sureshkumar, B. (2010). Prevalence, antibiotic resistance and RAPD analysis of food isolates of Salmonella species. Int J Biol Technol, 1, 50-55.
30. Kumar, H., Parvathi, A., Karunasagar, I., & Karunasagar, I. (2005). Prevalence and antibiotic resistance of Escherichia coli in tropical seafood. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 21 (5), 619-623.
31. Kumar, H. S., Sunil, R., Venugopal, M., Karunasagar, I., & Karunasagar, I. (2003). Detection of Salmonella spp. in tropical seafood by polymerase chain reaction. International journal of food microbiology, 88 (1), 91-95.
32. Kumar, L. R., Kasim, A. K., Lekshmi, M., Nayak, B. B., & Kumar, S. (2016). Incidence of methicillin-resistant staphylococci in fresh seafood. Advances in Microbiology, 6 (06), 399.
33. Mahmoud, A. M. (2021). Blue economy potentials for indigenous livelihoods in Zanzibar archipelago: Turning a political adage into coastal communities’ realities and practices.
34. Mangi, W. A., Parveen, S., & Mansoor, H. (2023). Microbiological Evaluation of Surimi Product Processed from Marine Fish of Karachi Coast, Northern Arabian Sea. Int. J. of Marine and Environmental Sciences, 2 (1), 1-7.
35. Margaret, M., & Edgar, T. S. (2015). Microbiological Safety of Small Pelagic Fishery: Case of L. Albert, Uganda.
36. Marijani, E. (2022). Prevalence and antimicrobial resistance of bacteria isolated from marine and freshwater fish in Tanzania. International Journal of Microbiology, 2022.
37. Mitiku, B. A., Mitiku, M. A., Ayalew, G. G., Alemu, H. Y., Geremew, U. M., & Wubayehu, M. T. (2023). Microbiological quality assessment of fish origin food along the production chain in upper Blue Nile watershed, Ethiopia. Food Science & Nutrition, 11 (2), 1096-1103.
38. Muhammad, K., Kiman, S. H., Muhammad, K., Jesse, I., & Mohammed, S. (2020). Isolation and identification of pathogenic bacteria from fresh fish organs. International Research Journal of Advanced Science, 1 (2), 42-46.
39. Mwasulama, N. E., Kussaga, J. B., & Tiisekwa, B. P. (2021). Handling practices and microbiological quality of kayabo-salted sun-dried nileperch Lates niloticus from Lake Victoria, Tanzania. African Journal of Food Science, 15 (3), 81-91.
40. Obiero, K., Meulenbroek, P., Drexler, S., Dagne, A., Akoll, P., Odong, R.,... Waidbacher, H. (2019). The contribution of fish to food and nutrition security in Eastern Africa: Emerging trends and future outlooks. Sustainability, 11 (6), 1636.
41. Ogur, S. (2022). Pathogenic bacteria load and safety of retail marine fish. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 82.
42. Olagbemide, P., & Akharaiyi, F. (2021). Evaluation of microorganisms associated with vended frozen fish in Ado Ekiti locality. Food Research, 5 (4), 21-28.
43. Onjong, H. A., Ngayo, M. O., Mwaniki, M., Wambui, J., & Njage, P. M. K. (2018). Microbiological safety of fresh tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) from Kenyan fresh water fish value chains. Journal of Food Protection, 81 (12), 1973-1981.
44. Onmaz, N. E., Abay, S., Karadal, F., Hizlisoy, H., Telli, N., & Al, S. (2015). Occurence and antimicrobial resistance of Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella spp. in retail fish samples in Turkey. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 90 (1-2), 242-246.
45. Ouedraogo, A. S., OUEDA, A., GNEME, A., BARRO, N., & KABRE, G. B. (2018). Handling conditions and microbial contamination of fish from Ouagadougou markets in Burkina Faso. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 12 (35), 866-872.
46. Rabia, A., Wambura, P., Kimera, S., Mdegela, R., & Mzula, A. (2017). Potential public health risks of pathogenic bacteria contaminating marine fish in value chain in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Microbiology Research Journal International, 20 (5), 1-11.
47. Rong, D., Wu, Q., Xu, M., Zhang, J., & Yu, S. (2017). Prevalence, virulence genes, antimicrobial susceptibility, and genetic diversity of Staphylococcus aureus from retail aquatic products in China. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8, 714.
48. Roy, S., Dora, K., Chowdhury, S., Murmu, P., Ikbal, A., & Bhattacharya, A. (2023). Evaluation of Microbial Quality of Fishes and Sanitary Condition of Wholesale and Retail Fish Markets in Peri-urban Area of Kolkata, India. International Journal of Bio-resource and Stress Management, 14 (Mar, 3), 383-390.
50. Siebert, T. (2020). Hauling in a full net: Reaping the benefits of processed fish. FarmBiz, 6 (9), 42-43.
51. Singh, Y. J., Santhakumar, R., Pandey, D., Bharati, H., & DebRoy, P. (2016). Adoption of hygienic fish handling practices by fishermen. Indian Research journal of Extension Education, 12 (1), 36-38.
52. Sissoko, A., Kwaku, T. D., Samaké, F., Kunadu, A. P.-H., Madilo, F. K., & Tembely, S. (2023). Assessment of fresh fish value chain stakeholders’ food safety knowledge and pratices at the Medina Coura market in Bamako, Mali. International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences, 17 (4), 1631-1642.
53. Tesfay, S., & Teferi, M. (2017). Assessment of fish post-harvest losses in Tekeze dam and Lake Hashenge fishery associations: northern Ethiopia. Agriculture & Food Security, 6 (1), 1-12.
54. TFDCA. (2003). Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Available at:
55. Tilahun, A., & Engdawork, A. (2020). Isolation, identification and antimicrobial susceptibility profile of E. coli (O157: H7) from fish in lake Hawassa, southern Ethiopia. Life Sci. J, 17, 64-72.
56. Valenzuela, A., José Antonio, Díaz-Camacho, S. P., Cabanillas-Ramos, J. A., de Jesus Uribe-Beltrán, M., de la Cruz, M. d. C., Osuna-Ramírez, I., & Báez-Flores, M. E. (2018). Microbiological analysis of Tilapia and water in aquaculture farms from sinaloa. Biotecnia, 20 (1), 20-26.
57. Velmurugan, S., John, S., Alemu, S., & Nagara, D. (2015). Determination of microbial contamination in Parangipettai coastal water fish duringhandling. Microbioz Jouranls. Journal of Microbiology and Biomedical Research, 5, 1-4.
58. Wattimena, M., Mailoa, M., Tupan, J., Putri, F., Nanlohy, E., Leiwerissa, S. Usu, L. (2021). Investigation of Escherichia coli contamination in fresh momar (Decapterus sp) in Ambon City fish market. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science,
59. Wendwesen, T., Dagmar, N., Yitbarek, G., & Matusala, M. (2017). Microbiological quality of frozen raw and undercooked Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) fillets and food safety practices of fish handlers in Arba Minch town, SNNPR, Ethiopia. Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Health, 9 (3), 55-62.
60. Yohans, H., Mitiku, B. A., & Tassew, H. (2022). Levels of Escherichia coli as Bio-Indicator of Contamination of Fish Food and Antibiotic Resistance Pattern Along the Value Chain in Northwest Ethiopia. Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports, 299-311.