As thousands more dead fish washed ashore near the Keamari jetty for the second consecutive day on Saturday, the Karachi Fisheries Harbour Authority (KFHA) collected samples to ascertain the cause.
The authorities have not taken any action to remove the foul-smelling dead fish piling up on the shores. The number of fish buyers has also gone down, as people fear ending up eating poisonous fish.
The samples will be sent to the Marine Fisheries Department on April 23 for tests, a KFHA official said.
He said marine pollution was the obvious reason behind the massive losses of the Mori fish. “But we want to know if there are any other factors triggering this loss of marine life.”
Community elders say Jawar Bhatia or high tides were the reason behind an increased level of marine pollution, as they enter the city’s drainage channels and carry untreated industrial waste back to the sea. The Jawar Bhatia season is usually three months long – from April to July. However, fishermen hope the season will subside by April 28, this year.
A Fishermen Cooperative Society (FCS) spokesman said the Sindh fisheries minister is expected to call a meeting of stakeholders to find a permanent solution to the problem. “We want treatment plants to be installed at certain important points, which will lessen the amount of untreated waste going into the sea – the major cause of marine life loss.”
And if steps are not taken soon, the toxic waste might affect the dolphins and green turtles which have their habitats close to the area which is being polluted, he added.
The small Mori fish is pollution-resistant, which is why it can survive in dirty water up to a certain degree. However, other sensitive fish species usually prefer to go deeper into the sea if they sense any pollution.