Dead fishes ashore: Public enlightenment on dangers necessary for coastal communities, says Orakwusi
A former President of the Nigerian Trawler Owners Association(NITOA) and Chairman Ship Owners Forum, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, has called for massive public campaigns on need for people to stay away from harvesting and eating dead fishes washed ashore in a number of coastal communities in the Niger Delta States.
She said in an interview that it had become necessary for government structures in the local areas concerned to embark on sustained enlightenment of the people to keep them away from a possible health risk in eating the dead fishes.
She added that besides investigations by the oceanography and fisheries institutes, the navy, which ensures security at sea should also be called in to possibly identify what causes could have led to the dead fishes on the shores of the communities.
She said: “I know the institutes of oceanography, department of fisheries would have started scientific investigations. But the work lies within the people who are very close to governance, which are the local and state governments.
“The Nigerian Navy should also be involved, because they should be able to identify if someone had come to dump toxic waste. But I will rely on the scientific investigations that would show what caused the specie of fish to die. It is amazing because it is only a specie of croaker. If it is poison, it should kill more than one specie. We need to investigate and know exactly what has happened because it is an unusual occurrence.
Fishing trawler owners are not afraid the incident would disrupt their operations, because they do regular analysis of waters where they fish miles away at deep sea, like from five nautical miles into the waters.
Orakwusi said that in further effort to thorough investigations on likely causes of the deaths of the fishes, “We have told our captains that on their way back they should collect water sample, because we will not allow them take that fish into the trawler.
“Once the chemical composition of the water sample is analysed, results will begin to show. So, we have to know what has happened really. Or could it be that a big vessel came to dump the product in our waters?”