By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff
Hundreds of dead fish have been found floating inside a pond in the Tortola community of Josiah’s Bay.
There has been no official report on what is killing the fish but the Department of Conservation and Fisheries, as well as the Environmental Health Department, suspect oxygen deprivation might be the cause.
“You could see the fishes struggling for oxygen because they were trying to come to the surface,” said Chief Environmental Health Officer, Lionel Michael who described the incidence as a “major fishkill”.
“Generally, fish kills are caused by oxygen depletion in the water. There is too little oxygen in the pond and that can be caused by high temperatures, depth of the water — the level of the water has decreased, human and animal waste getting in there. I want to believe more animal waste than human waste,” Michael explained.
When BVI News visited the area, Andrea Hedrington — who lives next to the pond — said the fish started turning up dead late last week.
She said she recalls hearing excessive “fluttering” in the pond last Thursday evening.
“Nobody really paid it attention but Friday morning when we woke up there were over 300 floating fish.”
Hedrington said the dead animals are now beginning to cause a stink. But, she told BVI News the stench is not her only concern.
“Whatever did this is not just affecting the fish, we have birds, we have trees … There are usually lots of stray cats around but I haven’t seen any of the cats since,” said Hedrington who believes the cats might have eaten the fish.
Hedrington said she is eager for local authorities to address the issue at the pond, which she said is regularly used for fishing and crabbing.
Acting Chief Conservation and Fisheries Officer, Kelvin Penn has told BVI News his department has made a site visit and is ‘looking into the issue’.
Residents, in the meantime, are being warned not to consume the dead fish.
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