The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also ruled out poisoning as the cause of death of the fish species that were washed ashore weeks ago.
Speaking in an interview, the Executive Director of EPA, Henry Kokofu also backed the earlier reports that stress factors caused the death of the aquatic animals.
“We’ve ruled out the incidences of chemical spillage or poisoning because if that had been the case, it would have never been selective. It would have killed all the animals that were washed ashore.”Henry Kokofu, Executive Director.
The EPA assessment is in line with the Fisheries Commission’s preliminary investigations which indicated that stress factors caused the deaths.
Shedding more light on the stress factors, Mr. Kokofu noted that oxygen deficiency, heat and fatigue contributed to the fish deaths.
“We do suspect greatly that there have been variations in oxygen content in the body of the sea…
“These animals, particularly the dolphins, are known to be deep-dwelling animals. So, they will come up at times for fresh oxygen and other things when there are deficiencies at the bottom of the sea.”Henry Kokofu, Executive Director.
He added that March is the warmest month in Ghana and once the temperature changes, the water temperature also changes. This leads to oxygen deficiency under the waters at that particular point in time, he pointed out.
Mr. Kokofu further noted that the fish were not native to Ghana’s waters and had been affected by migration exertions.
“You can imagine fatigue will also set in. If they are experiencing oxygen shortage, they then get into stressful conditions.”
Other assessments of the recent fish kills
In a report, the Department of Fisheries and Marine Sciences of UG said a sudden drop in the sea surface temperature caused the recent fish kills.
According to their water quality analyses, most parameters required for life in the ocean were within acceptable limits. However, chemical oxygen demand was significantly higher than expected. The department explained that this condition most likely results in stress for living organisms that depend on dissolved oxygen in the water body.
“This is most likely an indication of upwelled water from the bottom of the ocean, probably carrying low oxygen concentration.”
Touching on harmful algal bloom, the Department made no observation of phytoplankton abundance at higher level. Originally, the Department said species of phytoplankton that potentially cause blooms have always been in sea. They explained that phytoplankton results in a harmful bloom only when it is at a higher level than normal.
Also, the Head of Fish Health Unit at the Fisheries Commission, Dr. Peter Zedah said stress factors caused the deaths of the washed-ashore fishes.
The recent fish kills occurred along the shores of Osu beach and Axim-Bewire during the Easter Weekend. Following the incident, the Fisheries Ministry issued a warning to the public to desist from consuming such products. They also coordinated an inter-agency investigation into the reported incidents. In ensuring food safety, FDA also dispatched inspection teams to fish markets to prevent the washed-ashore fish from entering into the food chain.
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