Mutare Residents Warned Against Eating Fish From Fernvalley Dam
Mutare residents have been warned by health and environmental authorities against eating fish from Fernvalley Dam. The warning also urged Mutare residents to desist from using water from Fernvalley Dam over fears that the water source might have been poisoned.
This comes after Mutare residents woke up this Sunday to a shocking sight of hordes of dead fish floating in the dam. It is suspected that the dam could have been poisoned.
Veterinary Services Provincial Epidemiologist, Dr Innocent Chabhanga said that they have collected samples of the dead and living fish for post-mortem analysis as well as laboratory analysis to determine what might have caused the fish apocalypse.
"We have collected samples of the dead and living fish for post-mortem analysis as well as laboratory analysis.
"We have also taken water samples and sediments for analysis to ascertain the nature of toxins in the water. It is not safe to use the water for now."
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Provincial Manager for Manicaland, Kingstone Chitotombe described the situation as detrimental no only to the fish but the aquatic life as a whole and other organism higher on the food chain, such as human beings.
"We are witnessing a situation where fish was poisoned in Fernvalley Dam. We are suspecting that some fishermen and poachers put some poison into the water trying to catch fish.
"We are discouraging people from using unorthodox and dangerous means to hunt for fish because it is not only detrimental to the fish but the aquatic life as a whole.
"We are just seeing visible fish but we don’t know the extent of the aquatic life destroyed due to poisoning of the water.
"We are discouraging people from buying fish from mare vendors because there are possibilities of people taking the poisoned fish and selling them."
"We were informed of the incident on Monday. Our inspectors were there on the ground and saw the dead fish. From the pictures I cannot even count how many they were because they were so many of them," said Chitotombe.
According to Chitotombe the incident is being treated as an aqua genocide and a product of foul play.
"On paper, this ticks all the boxes of a deliberate water poisoning attempt by fish mongers who are looking to make profits from selling fish. So for the moment we will treat it as such, however tests results are going to give us more details on what exactly transpired.
"We are testing both the water and dead fish samples. From the water we would want to see if it is still a safe and environment friendly habitat for waterlife and from the fish we would want to see if they are traces of any sort of foreign substance to be found inside them. With these tests in hand, we can make a conclusive decision on what exactly transpired and map a way forward," said Chitotombe.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson for Manicaland Inspector Luxon Chananda also confirmed the incident and assured the public that the police were waiting test results that are being conducted by the Environmental Management Agency in conjunction with Zim parks and wildlife before they can proceed with investigations.
"We have received the report and we await the findings of the relevant environmental authorities so that we know how to proceed."
If the causes of the death of the fish are poisons, some poisons quickly break down into harmless substances in organisms but others are persistent and remain in the body. The persistent ones accumulate in the food chain and damage the organisms in it, including humans. The poison in the fish might not be enough to kill a human being instantly but is still dangerous because it accumulates and cannot be excreted, thereby producing long term effects.
Source :Nehanda Radio