Malaysia: Pahang rep wants thorough probe into death of fish

The Star 6 Jan 16;

KUANTAN: The authorities must investigate what caused dozens of dead fish to be washed up at Sungai Balok here, said Beserah assemblyman Andansura Rabu.

He urged the Fisheries Depart­ment and the Environment Department to conduct a thorough investigation and disclose the results to prevent speculation from being spread around.

Many people believe bauxite pollution caused the fish to die, he said.

“At the head of the river is the Gebeng industrial area where bauxite is stored. The public needs to know the truth, whether it is due to the dumping of waste from factories, the spilling of bauxite or even fish poisoning,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The images of the dead fish were uploaded on social media.

Pahang Fisheries Department director Adnan Hussain said the cause could be a drop in oxygen level in the water.

“From what I can see in the pictures, it does not seem like there are many dead fish, and those seen are the small ones,” he said, adding that the matter would be investigated.

Fisherman Raja Haris Raja Salim, 63, claimed pollution had also affected crabs, shellfish and freshwater fish along the river.

In Kuala Lumpur, an announcement on whether to issue a temporary halt, impose a total ban or to regulate the bauxite mining industry is expected to be made today by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

Companies involved in bauxite mining also confirmed meeting authorities in Putrajaya this week.

A mining executive wanted the Government to crack the whip on illegal bauxite miners and exporters.

Officially, Pahang only has 11 mining operators after the state revoked the licences of 34 contractors in July.

But he claimed there were as many as 50 companies exporting the ore to China. He pointed out that his company had invested millions of ringgit to mine bauxite legally.

Dead fish nothing unusual: Pahang state fisheries director
T.N.ALAGESH New Straits Times 5 Jan 16;

KUANTAN: A week after the "red sea" phenomenon at Balok beach here, nearby villagers were in for another shock today when they found hundreds of dead fish floating in Sungai Tonggak near Gebeng.

However, State fishery authorities claim that initial tests revealed the cause of the dead fish most likely had nothing to do with the recent phenomenon.

Balok Makmur Rukun Tetangga chairman Abdul Rahman Ali, 57, said villagers spotted dead ikan belanak (mullet) washed up on the sand banks during low tide about 7.30am.

He said as far as he knew, there were no bauxite stockpiles near the river banks.

"However, the contaminated water might have come from other sources including the drains or maybe the (contaminated) red sea waters last week killed the fish before being swept by currents into this part of the river.

"As villagers sometimes cast their nets in the river, I hope the authorities will conduct checks to confirm if the fish in the river is safe for consumption," he said when met today.

Ab Razak Musa, 56, from Taman Seberang Balok said it was the second time such an incident occurred in the village.

"A similar incident occurred some time ago but there were fewer dead fish compared to now.

"With the bauxite issue a hot topic, we cannot rule out any possibility that river contamination from bauxite has killed the fish," he said.

Meanwhile State Fisheries director Adnan Hussain said his officers had conducted several tests and collected water samples for analysis.

"After some tests by our officers, the results showed that the incident was nothing unusual.

"Initial tests showed the (cause of) dead fish had nothing to do with silt and mud. No other rivers here are affected except for Sungai Tonggak," he said.

He said a detailed report on the incident was expected to be complete in a week.

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