Onungwe Obe in Yenagoa
The people of Foropa and sangana communities along the Atlantic Ocean coastline in Bayelsa State have reported sighting hordes of dead fish floating to the shore as environmentalists also called for investigations.
Some of the residents of the communities, expressed feared that there could be serious safety concerns in the sea as they were yet to know what could have led to the death of the fish.
They further said the situation could be indicative of increasing toxicity of the Atlantic Ocean which could impact their livelihoods.
None of the oil producing companies in the affected areas has admitted any damage to their oil pipelines or facilities that might have led to such situation in the water.
Report of a leak from one of the offshore platforms, therefore, remained speculative.
An industry expert, Adi Noel, said the incident may have been triggered by the use of dispersants to clean up operational spills in the water.
Dispersants are toxic chemicals used to break down crude oil molecules in deep offshore environments far from human settlements.
Also, a resident of Sangana, Michael Owin, said dead fish had been washed and deposited everyday for several days now.
He told journalists that: “It is not unusual to find school of fish at the coastline after the tide goes down, but the number is causing curiosity to suspect that the marine ecosystem must be getting much toxic.
“The common fish species here are known to be resilient and sensitive; one would have expected them to migrate deeper, but their death in numbers may be an indication of crisis.”
Ebi Seigha, who is a fisherman, said the fishing communities were concerned about the health safety of their catches.
Alagoa Morris, an environmentalist, urged the relevant government agencies to take urgent steps to investigate the development.
He said given the location of several oilfields near the Bayelsa
State coastline, there was need for surveillance to find out if the incident has links with oil and gas exploration.
“Dead fishes washed ashore in great numbers are not only a strange
Occurrence, it points to a very serious environmental safety related matter.
“Such dead fishes cannot be said to be windfall to be delighted about by the residents, and it is believed the coastline communities should be not only be seriously disturbed, but aware of the dangers of consuming such fishes or even processing and selling to unsuspecting members of the public,” he said.