Bonny people are worried over the cause of dead croaker fishes which washed up along it’s coastline recently. A group of patriotic Bonny young men who monitored the situation found it difficult to ascertain the reason behind the death of fishes on the shores and waterways of Bonny Local Government Area of River State.
Godswill Jumbo, publisher/editor-in-chief, Kristina Reports and team leader of the group, noted that only the croaker fish was affected across all the observed affected areas and the dead fish were always turning up fresh in the mornings along the shores.
The group, in its preliminary investigation made available to Realnews, said the Croaker fish, popularly known as ‘Broke Marriage’ and called ‘Onah’ in Ibani dialect is the only observed fish affected by the incident. Jumbo said fishes were seen lying dead and littered along the shoreline from Lighthouse all the way to Ifoko on the fringe of the boundary between Bonny and Andoni LGA. The fish, he said were also sighted dead and floating on the sea and being washed ashore by waves.
Fishermen observed that the fishes kept popping up on the surface of the water and some were alive when sighted only to be struggling to stay alive and then they die. This happened within two nautical miles from Lighthouse where the fishes were all dead but beyond that and as far as the Fairway Buoy many of the fishes were sighted alive only to die later.
The impacted areas include Amariari, Lighthouse, River 7, Agaja, Uku-Mbi, Mbisu 1, Mbisu 2, and Ifoko communities in Bonny LGA; Oyorokoto and others in Andoni LGA. “We also received and verified reports that several communities along the Atlantic shoreline across the area referred to as the Gulf of Guinea is affected too. These include Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States in Nigeria.
“Community heads and members, fishermen, market women who trade in fish, children living in the impacted communities, among others testified of witnessing this both onshore and offshore. The fisher folks further disclosed that the odour of the dead fish was scaring away other living fishes thus depriving them of their daily catches.
“They informed that the incidence began about the last week of March 2020 and were in large quantities as much as were filling their fishing baskets and boats. Some used theirs for domestic consumption while others dried and sold to their customers both in Bonny and Port Harcourt, ” the group said.
The group recommended that the government should declare a public health emergency over the situation. A declaration that the croaker fish as at now should be avoided, should not be bought or sold, and not harvested wherever it is sighted whether dead or alive. Law enforcement and security agencies should be mandated to enforce the ban on the fish, especially the harvesting of it onshore and offshore.
“Law enforcement and security agencies to enforce the ban on the sale of the fish. Engagement of experts to explore the possibility of breeding that species of fish so that it doesn’t go extinct. Public health office should be mandated to study and recommend the best approaches to checkmate any outbreak of infection arising from consuming the fish.
“The results from the laboratory tests of the fish samples should be made public and where there exists dire consequences, the public should be properly sensitized about it. The relevant public health, environmental and related stakeholders should be converged to engage in a multi-stakeholder approach to address the issue and find a proper and sustainable solution to it,” it said.
– Apr. 18, 2020 @ 20:05 GMT |