Increased algae growth led to death of fish near Darkwood, says official

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By Robert A. Emmanuel

Heavy rainfall, an increase in temperature and exposure to sunlight could have been contributing factors in the recent discovery of hundreds of dead fish in a pond, in the Darkwood area.

The discovery was made by residents disturbed by the odour of the decaying marine animals over the weekend, and who also circulated the photos on social media.

Yesterday, Chief Environmental Officer, Ambassador Diann Black-Layne gave further clarity on some of the contributing factors that led to the fishkill.

“When pollutants, or something that does not belong in the sea, get into the ocean, there is something in the ocean called algae, which is very small. However, when rainwater comes, it brings down [a sort of] fertilizer, so when [algae] gets fertilized it begins grows really quickly.”

The Chief Environmental Officer in the Department of the Environment said that algae growth is a normal daily occurrence. However, “when it grows that quickly, it tends to use up all of the oxygen in the water. What that means is that the fish do not have oxygen to grow.”

Black-Layne noted that this has been a recurring situation for the McKinnon’s Pond and not the Darkwood area.

She added that for the past two years, it was thought to be a unique situation at McKinnon’s, however, the most recent discovery has called for more detailed investigations into the matter.

“We are going to have to go and do a more detailed check to see what exactly is happening for that particular area.

“It is very important for that pond to stay healthy; if we don’t have that healthy pond occurring, it means that we don’t have a healthy beach system and healthy bathing water quality, so that is something we need to look into, broadening the scope of our investigations to see where the pollutants could be coming from,” she said yesterday on OBSERVER AM.

She also warned the public that, for the time being, the fish in the Darkwood area would not be fit for consumption.

She said that at this point in time, residents should be advised not eat any fish from the area, however, “in a few weeks, the environment will clean up itself so long as there is no other rain event,” she said.

Black-Layne added that it’s the role of the Fisheries Department to communicate to the public when fish in the area can be consumed.

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