Algal bloom likely cause of fish kill in Kingston Harbour — NEPA

Algal bloom likely cause of fish kill in Kingston Harbour — NEPA

Friday, December 06, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) says the fish kill which occurred in the Kingston Harbour area this week is suspected to have been caused by an algal bloom— a rapid increase in algae population in marine water systems.

On Wednesday, NEPA reported the fish kill in the vicinity of Jamaica Aggregate in Kingston Harbour, extending to the Carib Cement Company Limited area and said a joint technical team from the Veterinary Services Division and the agency was deployed to investigate the report.

The agency further advised the public not to collect the dead fish for consumption or use the water in the area.

Manager of Pollution Monitoring and Assessment at NEPA, Lisa Kirkland, speaking with RJR news yesterday, said preliminary information showed a decrease in oxygen in the area.

“The readings that we're getting is between 3 to 4.7 milligrammes per litre. However, when we look at our background information looking from May/August to November we're seeing a reading of 5.6 to 6.9 in the same area. And essentially, tropical shallow water fish...need at least five miligrammes per litre for them to be okay,” Kirkland said.

This, she explained, was affecting the fish in the harbour.

“There is at least 19 drainage system that enters into the harbour which carries nutrient rich soil water into the harbour, and here the temperature fluctuates but with high temperatures, it's possible that these nutrients form nutrient rich water, which will see the proliferation or the growth of these single cell organisms that gives the red colour that we call algal bloom,” she said.

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