Dead fish along Niger Delta coastlines: Environmentalists reject NOSDRA’s report

Environmentalists from the FishNet Alliance, HOMEF and other groups have rejected the report on dead fish along Niger Delta coastlines by National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA). The environmentalists disagree with the interpretation of the data in the report and are calling on NOSDRA and other related agencies to quickly alert the public on the true cause of the incident.

The environmentalists recalled that reports of dead fish washing up on an extensive stretch of the Niger Delta coastline which first broke out on February 20, 2020 when people from Ogbulagha Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State raised an alarm on the massive death of fish, floating and littering their shores.

There were reports also from fishing communities in Ondo, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.

The environmentalists in a statement signed by Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) said, “We were pleased that NOSDRA took samples of the dead fish, sediments and water from some of the affected areas, for analysis – after series of outcry from community people, CSOs and other groups.

“On May 13, 2020 NOSDRA issued a press release titled: Alleged Mass Fish Kill Along The Coastline of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States. The title of the statement plays down on, and even questions the fact, of the massive fish kill that was evident in many locations. The title renders the result of the said analysis conducted by the agency questionable.

“We expected a detailed and in-depth analysis from NOSDRA working in cooperation with agencies and institutions including the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency and Federal Institute for Fisheries Research which they said were informed of the tragic occurrences.

“While the result of the laboratory analysis may reflect the true composition of the samples, the data interpretation may be misleading. For example, it is a known fact that crude oil comes with a mix of heavy metals such as Cadmium and Chromium which are some of the pollutants from that sector.”

The environmentalists noted that NOSDRA’s conclusion that “In the light of the foregoing, noting that hydrocarbons were not responsible for the death of the fishes, the plausible cause(s) could partially be attributable to other anthropogenic activities which are probably land-based” is capable of sweeping this serious issue under the carpet, while the affected communities are left to live with the impacts and uncertainties.

Responding to the NOSDRA statement, Ako Amadi, a marine ecologist and former Head, Fisheries Resources Division of NIOMR stated that: “Fish deaths commonly result from oxygen depletion in the aquatic medium. In the case of this recent occurrence in the Niger Delta, mortalities were reportedly concentrated on the genus Pseudotolithus, the croaker which is a bottom-feeder.

“It points to the fact that if the deaths had been as a result of ingestion of toxins the entire food web, that is, the benthic fauna of invertebrates including shrimps, crabs, zooplankton and juvenile fish, must have been affected. Evidence could then be deduced from toxicological examination of stomach contents, gills and bladder, or other respiratory and filtration organs of both dead and living croakers for comparison. This has not been the case.”

Amadi continues: “The Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, NIOMR in Lagos, and ancillary institutions in Port Harcourt and Calabar have enough expertise in this regard. The residence time of suspected toxins in the benthic environment and land-based or ship transport sources are easy to determine. Aquatic toxins do not affect only particular species of fish but all fauna in an affected area. I also fail to see statements on tolerance of croakers and associated living organisms to variations of environmental change in the inshore waters of the affected system.”

Amadi concluded that, “The NOSDRA report hardly shows any evidence of possible linkages to sudden increases in water temperature and current variations in the Eastern Gulf of Guinea that could have caused ecological hypoxia (oxygen depletion), such as ocean acidification fortified by increased waste (including oil) and heat discharges from coastal industries and shipping as well as from agricultural runoff and mangrove deforestation. The NOSDRA conclusions appear not to have been followed by immediate investigations, which infuses credibility cracks into the report. I hope that we can see more logical results to these investigations than what NOSDRA has currently presented.”

Bassey in his reaction expressed deep concerns about the fate of community people who depend on the affected water bodies for sustenance and noted that the situation compounds the struggles of affected community people as they battle the hardships brought by the restrictions occasioned by the COVID-19 outbreak.

He added that what NOSDRA gave is a very basic and tentative explanation merely aimed at ruling out the possibility of the cause being from hydrocarbons.

“The Ministry of Environment and relevant agencies have a duty to tell Nigerians what killed the fish so that we know how to respond to this and future incidents. We are not satisfied with NOSDRA’s report as this doesn’t bring a closure to the saga. Explaining why we experienced a massive death fish on our coasts is not beyond our scientists within and outside government,” he concluded.



Buy and read digital replicas of your TRIBUNE titles by subscribing through E-VENDING

COVID-19: Buhari May Announce New Policy Monday
President Muhammadu Buhari may on Monday announce new measures as the nation battles to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Towards this, on Sunday, the president received a briefing and recommendations on efforts further contain the spread of the virus from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on… Read full story

Lagos Considers Full Reopening Of Economy
Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said on Sunday that the state government is considering full re-opening of the critical sectors of its economy, but quickly noted that the move would not be pushed in a hurry. The governor gave this indication while at a briefing after the State’s Security Council meeting held at the… Read full story

MONDAY LINES: Agboola Gambari’s Burning Grass
What should Nigeria expect from you as Chief of Staff?”: “I don’t report directly to the nation; I report to the president.” “What should he (the president) expect from you? What can you assure him?” “I think you should ask the president. I give him my loyalty, competence and support.” “What will be your guiding principle as Chief of Staff?”… Read more

COVID-19: Buhari May Announce New Policy Monday
President Muhammadu Buhari may on Monday announce new measures as the nation battles to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Towards this, on Sunday, the president received a briefing and recommendations on efforts further contain the spread of the virus from the Presidential Task Force… Read full story

COVID-19: Ganduje, Deputy, Political Office Holders’ Salaries Cut By Half
Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje, his deputy, all commissioners and other political office holders from the month of May would receive half salary due to COVID-19 pandemic challenges on the state’s… Read full story

Israel’s Netanyahu Sworn In As Head Of Long-Awaited Unity Government
Israel’s parliament has sworn in a new government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz, ending the longest political crisis in the country’s history, Aljazeera reports. After more than 500 days without a stable government and three inconclusive elections, lawmakers in the… Read full story

EDITORIAL: The Infectious Diseases Bill
THE spontaneous anger triggered by the bill titled Infectious Diseases Control Bill 2020 has subsisted because of the resolve by the leadership of the House of Representatives to stick to its gun on the matter. The bill is being sponsored by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamilla; Pascal Obi, the chairman, House Committee on… Read full story

Buhari Receives PTF Report On COVID-19 Containment Effort
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday received a report from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the COVID-19 pandemic on the effort at the containment of its spread. The task force led by its chairman and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, met the president at his… Read full story

WHO To Kick Off International Meet Amid US-China Tensions
The World Health Organization will on Monday kick off its first-ever virtual assembly, but fears abound that US-China tensions could derail the strong action needed to address the COVID-19 crisis. The World Health Assembly, which has been trimmed from the usual three weeks to just two days, Monday and Tuesday… Read full story

The Coming Anti-Christ And The Africans
This is an imaginary essay. But it fits in with the economic, geopolitical and spiritual realities of our world today. By a dream-vision, I was taken to the Infernal Kingdom where I beheld Satan sitting on his throne with glittering pomp. The powers and principalities were paying obeisance to him, prostrate on the ground… Read full story

How Businesses Can Thrive During Peak And Trough
Business never follows a linear path. Rather, business runs in cycles; boom and bust, peak and trough, good and bad, great and tough. However, irrespective of the cycle in which a business finds itself, the stakeholders’ expectations remain unchanged – value must be delivered to them; customers expect quality… Read full story

Speaking Against Evil Is Not An Act Of Disobedience
What is good becomes bad, when it is done at the wrong time. Also, it is good to be hushed and silent, but when you are silent and still when you are to speak out, silence becomes bad. Sleep is good, but when done at the wrong time, it becomes bad. It is good to rest at home, but when you rest at home at the wrong time… Read full story

Leadership: Lessons Along The Way – 2
In the course of fulfilling your life assignment, many people will be engaged in the process, for good or for ill. You will be making the greatest mistake of your life by assuming that just because people gleefully got involved with what you are doing translates to their being committed to you. Those who are committed to… Read full story

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More