Port Harcourt — The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, says it has launched investigation into the continuous death fishes littering across the Atlantic coastline of Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states.
Recall that dead croaker fishes, arising from suspected hydrocarbon pollution from oil firms operating offshore, since March 2020, have continued to litter the Atlantic coastline of Bayelsa State and recently noticed in Bonny Island in Rivers State, a development experts have warned it could lead to extinct of the fish specie.
Although there has been speculation that there was a leak from one of the platforms operating offshore Bayelsa, however, no oil firm has admitted having an oil leak from their offshore operations.
But NOSDRA has said that it was coordinating a muli-agency investigation aimed at unraveling the cause of the reported massive death of fishes within the nation’s territorial waters and was looking beyond the oil industry.
Director-General of NOSDRA, Mr. Idris Musa, in a statement said investigation was already ongoing despite the COVID-19 lockdown.
Musa explained that officials of NOSDRA deployed from the agency’s offices in Warri, Yenagoa and Port Harcourt have visited the Atlantic coastlines of Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers to collect water and fish samples for tests.
“The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, carried out a reconnaissance of the area in Delta where we first got the report through a member through a member of a Non Governmental Organisation.
“There was no incident of oil spill within the area of reported dead fishes, notwithstanding that a few dead fishes were seen along the shoreline.
“The event of recent days where the death of fishes in large numbers make it expedient to look beyond oil spillage as the likely cause death of fishes in such large numbers.
“The Agency proceeded to collect samples of water, sediments and some of the dead fish for laboratory testing. In doing so the agency brought onboard other relevant agencies of government that have mandate on our territorial waters.”
NOSDRA also announced that it was partnering with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research and the Federal Institute of Fisheries Research, to unravel the problem.
“Also included is the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, for an all hands on deck assessment of the possible cause or causes of death of the fishes in such large numbers.”
The NOSDRA boss said that the results of ongoing laboratory analysis would be compared with results from the participating agencies to proffer an effective solution and ensure a more stringent regulations in future.
He said it was situations like this that informed the agency’s limitations to the use of chemical dispersants in the water bodies near human settlements and assured that NOSDRA remained committed to a sustainable environment.