The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency have begun a scientific inquiry into the recent shoals of dead fishes washed ashore along the Niger Delta coastline states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Rivers and other places within the region.
The maritime agency also issued a warning to the general public, especially the locals in the affected areas, about the dangers of consuming or selling the dead fishes to unsuspecting members of the public.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, stated that the agency was working with relevant scientific experts to isolate the cause of the abnormal issue of dead fish along the Niger Delta coastline.
He said in a statement, “We want to identify the cause and establish what can be done to alleviate the adverse effect of this occurrence on the people and the marine environment in the affected areas.
“While we are working to decipher and mitigate this strange incident, we appeal to locals in the affected communities and those who trade in aquatic animals to avoid consumption and sale of the dead fish.
“Also, selling of the dead fishes to members of the public will carry criminal liabilities.”
Jamoh said the tripodal investigation would involve an examination of the dead fish as well as water and sediment analyses.
According to the statement, NIMASA has the mandate to regulate and protect the country’s marine environment as provided for in the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 and in compliance with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 1973/78), and other relevant instruments aimed at protecting the maritime domain.