Land reclamation may be behind mass fish deaths

What went wrong?: Some of the dead fish found along Pantai Lido.

JOHOR BARU: Land reclamation along Pantai Lido could potentially be the main cause of mass fish deaths in the area.

State Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said the Department of Environment (DoE), along with the Fisheries Department, were still investigating the matter and not ruling out land reclamation as the contributing factor.

“The DoE visited the location on Thursday upon receiving complaints about the occurrence and found that the dissolved oxygen level of the water was very low at 1.2mg/l,” he said.

“The hot weather and disturbance of the water flow here due to land reclamation are believed to be contributing factors, but we are still investigating the matter.”

In a statement, Tan said he had instructed the DoE to look into the Environment Impact Assessment for the reclamation project to avoid a recurrence of such incidents.

Dozens of dead fish were spotted along Pantai Lido during a visit there yesterday, along with a strong stench.

This is the second occurrence of mass fish deaths along Pantai Lido recently, with the first incident on Aug 28.

State Fisheries Department director Zamani Omar said land reclamation had caused blockages in the waterway, resulting in limited water exchanges.

“The fish in the area were possibly trapped in water with a low dissolved oxygen level, causing them to suffocate.

“The hot weather, followed by sudden downpours, could also have killed the fish as they had to experience extreme and sudden changes of temperature,” he said, adding that there were no signs of industrial pollution in the water.

Malaysia Nature Society vice-president Vincent Chow said the recurring fish deaths here were a clear sign of pollution.

“Just because no industrial waste is found does not mean that there is no pollution, as the mud from land reclamation could also cause pollution.

“The relevant agencies should not only check the water samples, but also take samples from the dead fish to know what caused them to suffocate,” he said.

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