Dead Fishes Washed Ashore

Government clarifies massive death of fishes on Niger Delta shores

* Toxins discharged into Atlantic Ocean cause of death of croaker fishes ─ NOSDRA

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Following the increasing health concerns among the populace and consumers of fishes and other aquatic resources over the recent reports of mass death of the resource in Nigeria’s Niger Delta Region, the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has revealed that toxins discharged into the Atlantic Ocean have been blamed for the death of several croaker fishes washed ashore in coastal areas in Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states of the country.

According to NOSDRA findings, the toxics could have emanated from human activities on land, given that wastes from domestic and industrial sources were usually emptied into the waters.

Idris Musa, Director-General of NOSDRA, in a statement, said the toxicity found in the dead fishes and water samples was caused by pollution from heavy metals from industrial and domestic wastes.

Musa stated that the relevant government agencies with mandates on the marine environment collaborated with NOSDRA to undertake the study following the shocking discovery.

Other agencies involved in the investigation, according to the Director-General, include the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).

The Federal Institute for Fisheries Research was also among the establishments enlisted in the efforts at unravelling the likely causes of the massive death of the fishes, said Musa.

He clarified that the results of the tests confirmed NOSDRA’s preliminary findings that the death of the fishes was not linked to oil leakages as the levels of hydrocarbon in the samples tested were within regulatory limits.

“The results of the laboratory tests were perused, and we make explanation on the parameters of concerns that were analysed for the purpose of clarity and understanding. “As earlier mentioned, the findings did not show hydrocarbons (Oil) as the possible cause of the death of the fishes.

“In the course of the analyses, Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAR), Benzene, Toluene Ethylene and Xylene (BTEX) were within regulatory standard limits in water, sediments and fish tissue analyses.

According to the NOSDRA Director-General, “however, there were some heavy metals such as Cadmium, Chromium Copper, Zinc and Iron that exceeded regulatory standard limits in the coastlines of the three states, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers.

“In the water samples taken at the coastline in Bayelsa State, the values of Cadmium and Iron were higher than the regulatory standards limit.

“The Cadmium in the water was between 0.001 and 0.173 miligramme per litre (mg/l) with an average value of 0.064 mg/l. This is above the regulatory limit of 0.05 mg/l as well as the control sample value of 0.08 mg/l.

He added that “the value of the iron content in water in the area ranged between 1.914 – 3.408 mg/l with a mean value of 2.503 mg/l. This is above the regulatory limit of 1.00 mg/l.

“The values of the parameters in sediments were substantially within regulatory limits. The values of Chromium and copper in the sampled dead fishes’ tissue were slightly higher than the European Union (EU) Standards limits.”

He stated that having ruled out oil pollution as cause for the dead fishes, the plausible causes could partially be attributable to other human-related pollution activities which were based on land.

Musa noted that “in this case, while it is commonly observed that most industrial and domestic wastes which contain heavy metals such as cadmium, iron, zinc, copper found their ways into drainages and onward transfer to the water bodies.

“Their deleterious impact may be negative to aquatic species, other mammals and human beings.

The main sources of these are batteries, galvanised pipes, fertilizers, sewage sludge and plastics.

He said such may be the case in the analyses of dead fishes found at the coastline in Delta and Bayelsa States where chromium was found in fish tissue.

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