NEWS

Dead Fish Turn Up At Suva Foreshore

Hotel workers along the Suva foreshore were yesterday shocked by a discovery of dead fish in the nearby seafront. The Ministry of Fisheries in a preliminary report yesterday said the
17 Jan 2018 11:43
Dead Fish Turn Up At Suva Foreshore
Dead fish at the Suva foreshore on January 16, 2018. Photo: Fonua Talei

Hotel workers along the Suva foreshore were yesterday shocked by a discovery of dead fish in the nearby seafront.

The Ministry of Fisheries in a preliminary report yesterday said the fish could have been discarded by nearby fishing vessels.

Speaking from Savusavu last night Permanent Secretary for Fisheries Sanaila Naqali said the report from his ministry was not conclusive. A final report would be forthcoming today if scientific testing results came to hand early.

‘’One possibility could be excessive heat in the water. Fish of that size are affected if temperatures rise,” Mr Naqali said.

“The second explanation could be exposure to run-offs from nearby hotels and homes. I am referring to the presence of contaminants like detergents and chemicals that get dumped into the foreshore through the discharge system.

“We have sent water samples from that area to USP for a scientific opinion.

“On the fish being possibly dumped there by fishing vessels in nearby waters, I think there’s a slim chance of that happening. But that can be confirmed when our investigation is complete.”

Identified as baby trevally fish and Gazza minuta (kaikai ni saqa in iTaukei language), also commonly known as the toothpony, the fish specie is native to the Pacific and Indian Oceans and survives in salt and brackish waters.

“More than 20 fish were found dead floating at the Holiday Inn seafront in Suva at 9am today (yesterday) morning,” the ministry statement said. But a Fiji Sun team that visited the area at the time of discovery noticed there more dead fish then quoted in the official report.

“The call for inspection was made by officers from the Totogo Police Station after which fisheries officers were sent to investigate.”

According to the ministry, the size of the fish specie found ranged from four to five centimetres with no sign of altered body parts or foul smell.

“Apparently, crescent perch and other fish species were found swimming freely in the same site and observation of nearby sites behind Kadavu House and Suva Bowling Club showed no evidence of floating dead fish,’’ the statement said.

“This led the team to conclude that the dead fish could possibly be the result of by-catch discarded from fishing boats that usually use gillnets fishing technique with gillnets size of 2 –2.5 centimetres which is illegal.”

Gillnets are fishing nets which are hung vertically to trap fish by their gills.

The ministry reports that the sighting is not the first of such nature to happen adding that there were two recorded cases in 2017.

“By-catch is defined as the unwanted fish and other marine creatures trapped by commercial fishing nets while targeting a different fish species. These under-sized and unwanted fish species are usually discarded. However, the strong northerly wind and current carried them back to shore in front of Holiday Inn,” the statement said.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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