The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has reported sighting “an unusual incidence of dead fish sighted along the Nigeria Delta Coastline”. In a series of tweets posted on Saturday April 18, the foundation said the cause of death of the fishes is yet unknown.
“However, working with relevant stakeholders, samples have been taken to the laboratory to conduct proper investigation and advise according,” one of the tweets read.
Some of the species found on the coastline included: croaker and shiny-nose fish. The Foundation also reported that some individuals are taking advantage of the situation to make quick money from unsuspecting buyers.
“It is important that members of the public around the affected area be circumspect of croaker fish for now,” it warned, adding that “we will update you as more information unfolds from our investigation.”
This report corroborates information received by The Daily Report earlier this week. On the 15 April edition of our broadcast, the National Chairman of the Ijaw Youth Council Transition Management Committee, Kennedy Olorogun, called into the programme from Port Harcourt.
“The Bonny River has been polluted and all the fishes in the river are just floating,” he said on The Daily Report programme hosted by Ify Onyegbule. “We believe this is due to the activities of the multinational companies in the region. Our people can’t fish as they would and because of the lockdown, things are more difficult.”
Olorogun added that “Up till now, the government and state agencies have not come to look at the situation and nobody is making any statement.”We are very worried about the situation.”
Finima Town, Amariari, Lighthouse, River 7, Agaja, Uku-Mbi, Mbisu 1, Mbisu 2, and Ifoko communities “to probe the reality, immediate and remote causes, impact, and possible remedy to the situation”.
The four-person team included: Godswill Jumbo (Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Kristina Reports);
Humphrey Buowari (Director of Environment, Finima Youth Congress); Kelly Brown (Coordinator of Environment, Finima Youth Congress); and Kindness Brown (Public Relations Officer, Environment Office).
They found mostly croaker (popularly known as ‘Broke Marriage’) along the shoreline from Lighthouse all the way to Ifoko on the fringe of the boundary between Bonny and 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 are affected too. These include Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States in Nigeria,” the report noted.
The team gathered from heads and members of affected communities, fishermen, market women who trade in fish, children living in the impacted communities that the smell of the dead fish drove off the other living fish species, and this is affecting daily fishing activities.
Locals, according to the report, first noticed the dead fishes around the last week of March. Suspecting nothing was amiss they harvested the fish by the boatload, keeping some for domestic consumption and selling the rest in Bonny and Port Harcourt.
The team’s preliminary findings could not ascertain what killed the fishes. It “has contacted Professor Ibitoru Hart and also sent samples of the fish and water from different locations as directed by her to her in Port Harcourt”.