Malawi government through the Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Energy and Mining says investigations to establish the extent of fish kills and their possible causes on Lake Malawi in Karonga district are underway and that the nation will be duly informed once such investigations are concluded.
The development comes after the fish kills was linked to the discharge of waste water by Kayerekera Mine in the district.
It is being speculated that Paladin Africa Limited has secretly started discharging radioactive waste water into surrounding water bodies which in turning is causing the fish kill.
Floating dead fish were observed in the areas of Nyungwe, Hanga, Phapha, Makhala and Kambwe which along the Lake Malawi.
According to the department of fisheries, the floating fish, observed in December 2014, were Chambo, Kampango, Utaka, Mlamba, Ncheni, Nkholokolo, Mbuna and Chisawasawa, among others.
“The dead fish that were sampled from the affected areas were however all rotten,” said Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Erica Maganga.
“The public is hereby informed that investigations that were conducted recently show that Kayerekera Uranium Mine has never released any effluent into the environment from its storage facilities.
“It should also be noted that in the rivers surrounding the mine including North Rukuru River, there were no cases of fish kills observed,” she further explained.
Scientific knowledge points to the fact that the oxygen deficient waters have high concentrators of Hidrogen Sulphide and Carbon Dioxide and when fish are exposed to these conditions, they suffocate and die.
While the fish kills in Lake Malawi have been observed on a large-scale starting in 1999, the Karonga scenario is the first case of localised fish kills in recent times, according to Maganga.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has urged people to desist from collecting, selling and utilising the floating dead fish in any form whether through direct human consumption or as livestock feed.
“This is mainly due to the fact that any dead fish is likely to be infested with pathogenic bacteria,” said Yanira Ntupanyama, Secretary for Natural Resources.
Prior to 1999, the fish kills were reported to have occurred some 40 to 50 year back, but since 1999, the fish kills have occurred lake-wide in the periods 2005-2006, 2010-2011 and in August 2014 and recently in December 2014 as well..Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :