By Fitzgerald Munyoro | Nehanda Local |
MUTARE- In what is suspected to be a case of water poisoning by fish mongers, millions of fish and other aqualife were discovered floating lifelessly in Fern Valley Dam on Sunday by residents of the area.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson for Manicaland Inspector Luxon Chananda confirmed the incident and said the police were awaiting test results that are being conducted by the Environmental Management Agency in conjunction with Zim parks and wildlife so that 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,”said Chananda.
The incident was confirmed by Brighton Mufute, a Dangamvura resident and licensed fisherman, who told Nehanda Radio that he received the news about the dam’s contamination via a phone call on Sunday from his fishing colleague who resides in the mountain encapsulated area.
”I reside in Dangamvura but I frequent the dam area quite often. It was one of my colleagues who I was speaking to who informed me two days ago that he had seen countless fish floating on the dam’s surface.”
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) manager for Manicaland Province Kingstone Chitotombe said that they had been alerted to the incident and had taken samples of the water and dead fish for testing.
”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.
Chitotombe added that they are treating the incident as an aqua genocide and foul play is being suspected.
“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.
He added that the laboratory tests will be available by Friday.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife management public relations officer Joseph Mashava cautioned members of the public to be beware of fish sellers as they might buy contaminated meat and risk their health and well being.
He said that it is the duty of every citizen to be responsible and look after wildlife and natural resources.
Under the Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife Act (1996), fish are protected as natural resources (chapter 20;14) however the act does not have specific tenets for fishing management.
Under the Lake Kariba Fishing Regulations, fishing control is by way of a permit and there is prohibition to destructive fishing methods. It also controls business of catching and selling fish. Nehanda Radio