Agu Dawn, Abuja
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) says it is yet to establish any link between oil leaks and death fishes that float and litter the Atlantic coastline across the Niger Delta region.
The DG said it was coordinating a multi-agency investigation aimed at unravelling the cause of the reported massive death of fishes within the country’s territorial waters and was looking beyond the oil industry.
Director-General of NOSDRA Mr Idris Musa held a live interactive session on Facebook on Wednesday and mentioned that investigation was already ongoing in spite the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to Musa, officials of NOSDRA deployed from Warri, Yenagoa and Port Harcourt have conducted site visits to the Atlantic coastline in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers to collect water and fish samples for tests.
“NOSDRA carried out a reconnaissance of the area in Delta where we first got the report through a member of a non- governmental organisation.
“There is no incident of oil spill within the area of reported dead fishes, notwithstanding that a few dead fishes were seen along the shoreline.
“The event of recent days where the death of fishes in large numbers make it expedient to look beyond oil spillage as the likely cause of death of fishes in such large numbers,” he said.
The DG said that the agency collected samples of water, sediments and some of the dead fishes for laboratory testing, and in doing so, brought on board other relevant government agencies that have a mandate on the territorial waters.
“In particularly the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) and the Federal Institute of Fisheries Research.
“Also, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for all hands on deck assessment of the possible cause or causes of death of the fishes in such large numbers.”
The NOSDRA DG said that the results of ongoing laboratory analysis would be compared with results from the participating agencies to profer an effective solution and ensure more stringent regulations in future.
He said it was such situations that informed the agency’s limitations to the use of chemical dispersants in the water bodies near human settlements and assured that NOSDRA remained committed to a sustainable environment.