Residents along Foropa, Sangana axis of the Atlantic coastline in Bayelsa state, Nigeria have reported sighting dead fishes littering the shoreline.
Some of the residents who spoke on the development said the occurrence was noticed since March 15 and was yet to abate fueling fears of pollution of the country’s territorial waters by toxic substances.
Mr Leghemo Ebrasin, a youth leader said the development was strange and could be an indication of increased toxicity of the Atlantic ocean which could impact residents.
Ebrasin, who hails from Koluama, a settlement on the Atlantic shoreline, Southern Ijaw local Government Area of Bayelsa urged oil firms operating in the area to close ranks with the oil industry regulators to trace the source of the pollution.
“The residents on the shoreline are concerned and worried about what is happening with the coastline littered with dead fishes, the maritime environment supports our livelihood which is fishing.
“The same environment hosts oil operations with several oil blocks in the area operated by many oil firms and I believe the safety of their operational environment should be of concern to the operators of these oilfields too.
“There is need for an industry-wide joint investigation involving the regulators and all operators with community and government representatives at the three tiers to find out the cause of the massive death of fish species.
“My parents are both in the fishing vocation and have refrained from going to fish out of concern for the public health implication of contaminated toxic fish,” the youth leader said.
Michael Owin, who resides at Sangana, a coastline settlement in Bayelsa, said that the people have been seeing dead fishes washed ashore and dropped by the tide on a daily basis from the middle of March.
According to him, some unsuspecting people have picked the dead fishes taking them for ‘stranded’ and eaten them.
“It is not unusual to find fishes dropped at the coastline after the tide goes down but the number is making us curious 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,” he said.
Ebi Seigha, a fisherman in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area told NAN that the fishing communities were worried at the development, adding that they were concerned about the safety of their catch.
Another resident at Foropa, a coastline community in Bayelsa, Mr Ekemeghesuotei Sese, said an environmental audit of materials used by oil companies was desirable to ascertain the safety of people in the area.
He said that such a development was capable of wiping off species of sea creatures in the food chain.