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What is killing the marine life

Fred Wesley
Friday, November 03, 2017

IT isn't pleasant seeing dead fish, crabs, prawns and mussels littered on the banks of the Ba River.

That was the scene at Votua Village yesterday.

As our report on page 1 today points out, the stench of rotting marine life was overpowering and lay over the village area which is home to about 500 people.

Votua Village headman Simione Navara said residents noticed dead fish floating in the river since last Saturday.

Villagers, he said, relied on the river for fish, crabs, prawns and mussels as a source of food and their livelihood.

They have pointed a finger at the Rarawai Mill, more specifically at alleged discharge into the river.

They claim it takes up to three months for the fish to return, meaning they will now have to wait until February.

It is an allegation that has been downplayed by the Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark who insisted the miller had nothing to with the Ba River issue.

The factory, he said, had closed for the season, "so there are no current factory discharge".

"As previous incidents have not been related to the sugar factory/mill, we assume that the Ministry of Environment has been consulted," he said.

Mr Navara claimed the issue always occurred when the mill ceased crushing and also during major stoppages mid-season.

Whatever it is, the fact is that something is killing marine life.

The villagers are affected. It obviously is frustrating to see fish and other marine life dead in their portion of the river.

It isn't a new scenario either for them, they claim.

Whatever it is that is killing marine life is also affecting their source of livelihood.

It obviously has to be something powerful for the marine life to be affected in such a way and in large numbers.

The onus now is on the powers that be to get to the bottom of this issue.

An investigation must be conducted and the villagers deserve to be informed about what it is that is killing their marine life.

Surely we all would want to know what is behind this mysterious event.

The powers that be must push for an investigation. This will not only give answers to the many questions the villagers have, but it will also ensure the protection of our environment, and marine resources well into the future.

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