Fish samples tested for contamination

The water at the river mouth of Kampung Pasir Gudang Baru in Sungai Masai has turned black with a foul stench. The Fisheries Department is taking samples of the catch to ensure it is safe to eat.

JOHOR BARU: The Fisheries Depart­ment has taken samples of fish and mussels from the Pasir Gudang area to determine whether they are safe to eat following the toxic chemical pollution in Sungai Kim Kim.

Its director-general Datuk Munir Mohd Nawi said the samples would be taken to the department’s laboratory or any private lab to be analysed.

“A detailed analysis will be based on the nine contaminant parameters that had been identified to determine whether fish sources in the Pasir Gudang area are safe for consumption or otherwise.

“The results of the analysis will be announced in the near future,” he said in a statement.

He added that based upon information from South Johor Fishermen Association, the toxic pollution has affected over 650 fishermen with sales proceeds having dropped by 50% since the incident on March 7.

Munir added that the state department has formed a special task force that would oversee the results of the analysis and monitor the water quality in the area.

“There are eight fishermen bases involving 342 fishermen and 181 sea farmers around Teluk Kabung and Kampung Perigi Acheh that are affected by the chemical pollution.

“The Chemistry Department has no expertise and does not conduct analysis for contaminated fish and mussels samples with toxic substances, and that is the reason why we formed a task force for this purpose,” he said.

The preliminary report from the Chemistry Department found water samples in Sungai Kim Kim contained methane, hydrogen chloride, acrylonitrile, acrolein, ethyl benzene, aldrich toluene, xylene and limonene.

The Fisheries Depart­ment immediately began monitoring fish and mussels around Pasir Gudang and so far, there have been no reports of fish and mussel deaths.

“There was a viral video that supposedly showed hundreds of fish dead from pollution in Pasir Gudang.

“After an investigation, the state Fisheries Department confirmed that it was fake news and no such incident happened in Sungai Kim Kim, Kong-Kong or any area in Pasir Gudang,” Munir said.

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