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Hundreds of fish found dead in Josiah’s Bay pond

Hundreds of dead fish scattered across the Josiah’s Bay pond. (Photo credit: Davion Smith/BVI News)

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.”

Andrea Hedrington points to the school of dead fish floating in the pond next to her Josiah’s Bay residence.

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.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

21 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Too late for the “belongers” to return to God. They made their pact with the devil. Racism, bigotry and crime is the new BVI religion. The territory is being stricken by one calamity after another. Fish kill, storms, the offshore corporations, no tourists, no roads but lots of garbage. The “belongers” just don’t learn. Even a dog can be trained to do the right thing.

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    • Silent says:

      People like you continue to propagate animosity between locals and expatriates. If you don’t like the BVI, you have options (hint! hint!)

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    • Brad Boynes says:

      Why are you here Anonymous? What do you have to offer? I would slap u if I knew who your miserable ass was.

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    • Please return from whence thou came! says:

      Read your post very sloowwwlllly (As I am sure you did not take time to read before posting) and you will gather one thing only…that you are an ANONYMOUS @$$!!!

      Anyway enjoy your calamity in the beautiful and “BLESSED” BVI. Yess, Blessed, all things considered and in comparison.

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      • Uncle Buck says:

        If everybody returned from whence they came then the British Virgin Islands would be a much better place. Somehow I very much doubt that the majority of British Virgin Islanders would want to return from whence they came because their cousins across the big pond have failed to lift their continent out of the dark ages for almost a millenia. Everyone complains about the white man but the white man has created this world where we all enjoy technological perks such as Internet, cell phones, motor cars, yachts, satellite TV, supermarkets, fresh water, and penicillin. Thank you white man, we appreciate all your have done for the world.

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        • Please return from whence thou came! says:

          Uncle buck, you too need to join the “ANONYMOUS @$$”, because it is clear that I am speaking to someone who has no regard for a nation in which he/she lives. Yes and all who fit in this category are more than WELCOME TO LEAVE. Left behind should be the ones worth embracing. Descent respected migrants/residents who appreciate the country in which they adopted as their home, no matter how long or how difficult things may get at times..

    • . says:

      Somebody salty.

    • BVIYoungman says:

      BUT HEARR ‘Lionel Michael’ trying to say that’s its a Natural cause!! due to “struggling for Oxygen… trying to reach the Surface”.

      You (Lionel Michael) just Don’t want to Admit The Fact, That it can or IS ACTUALLY Caused by Man(us). So much Garbage that were Littered/disposed, along with other NASTYNESS that is done somewhat In, or Near our ponds, polluting the waters and overall Place.

      You just Don’t want to Admit The Fact because that would prove that you all (ENV’L Health) Isn’t Doing Ayo Damn JoB!! (RoadTwon is TheWorst, VG damn NEARRRR)

      YOU ALL NEED FIRING!!!

      good thing there’s a fresh set of young people That Interested In Studying This Field! FUTURE LOOKING GREAT!!

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    • Please.... says:

      you haters never stop ey?

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  2. Monitoring of BVI Ponds says:

    Josiah’s Bay Pond is a well known ecological area for fish and other crustaceans to spawn before going out to sea. The cause of this fish kill is the opening to the sea is blocked with silt because of the quick evaporation of water from the pond, and possible low tide of the sea that usually flush the pond with fresh water daily. The fish got trapped and the oxygen ran out. What to do about it. The Conservation and Fisheries and National Parks Trust agencies are to collaborate to monitor all ponds in the BVI to ensure that this incident is not a frequent event as these ponds are the spawning grounds for fish and crustaceans in the BVI.

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    • Steven says:

      Thank you for the insight. Hopefully this is the only issue.

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      • Concerned citizen says:

        Agree. Thank you “Monitoring of BVI Ponds”. Very positive and insightful post indeed. You offer hope and a breath of fresh air.

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    • on point says:

      You are exactly correct.

      In my childhood days I used to spend a lot of time at that pond and witness the event. Once the entrance is cut off this would be the result.

      It would appear that the 2 agencies that should be overseeing needs some help. Maybe we locals need get involve.

      I am certainly willing too.

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  3. Help the rest says:

    Pump sea water into the pond. Some body blocked the entrance with rocks. Open up the pond to get flow from the sea.

  4. Yolo says:

    Well that’s what happen when you over fish those crab for month and month bucket of crab that help keep the pond rich with oxygen was over fish that’s what cause the death

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  5. Shark says:

    From my childhood days going to Josiah’s bay for those who knows the history of josiah’s Bay.if they had not tampered with nature we would not have. His mess.they went and change the waters path into the pond.they filled up with more stones.until they remove what was placed there this would be the result,the government is much to blame for this.

  6. Political Observer (PO) says:

    @ Monitoting of BVI Ponds, grest commentary. The fish kill at the Josiah Bay pond is due to hypoxia, low or depleted oxygen in the pond. The question is what cause the low/depleted oxygen level? Without having assessed the on site conditions, I would speculate that the hypoxia was caused by a) block access to the sea (silt, sediment), b) algae growth and decay, c)fresh water runoff mixing with saltwater and d)dead zones. Initial solution——remove any access blockage or restriction of water exchange between pond and the sea. As an after thought, check to make sure that there is no inflow or infiltration from septic system(s).

  7. Island Man says:

    This could be the result of climate changes. The sun seems extremely hot therefore the temperature of the water increased causing the oxygen level to fall way below normal. This may not be the fault of anyone but natural and the rapid increase in temperature.
    Just my taking on the situation.

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  8. This says:

    is not the first time such a massive environmental disaster has occurred in that pond. It is a continuing occurrence.

    Why? the pond cannot breathe! It cannot replenish or maintain its oxygen level, thus the life that needs oxygen to live dies.

    In the past, its access to the sea was blocked with rocks and sand placed there by land owners.

    At the time they were perhaps unaware of the catastrophic consequences such would have on the environment, but after so many and continuing kill offs, it is hoped that they and the environmental protection department will finally fix the problem by restoring the ponds vital access to the sea.

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    • Di says:

      I too lost fish (koi and goldfish) recently in my outdoor pond.I would normally turn off my fountain at night and was told that it was lack of oxygen in the water.so I leave it on all the time now and the other fish that have survived I.e mainly goldfish are doing OK now.

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