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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Berhampur, Aug 8:

The local fishermen are a worried lot as schools of dead fish and other aquatic animals have washed ashore the Gopalpur coast in Odisha’s Ganjam district over the past four days affecting their livelihood.

dead fish

The panicked fishermen have stopped venturing into the sea after the carcasses of the fish were spotted along the coast since Friday.

The fisher folks have blamed urea transported from the port and industrial effluents for the mass grave of the marine products.

According to sources, around 12 villages near the Gopalpur port depend on fishing for their living. The perturbed populace had brought this incident to the notice of the officials following which the latter had visited the spot on Sunday and collected samples for testing to trace any contamination.

“The fishes are dying out of water pollution or some other poisonous substance. We have put forth our demands for an immediate investigation into the incident and give us the correct information on this,” B Simadri, President of District Fish Workers Union said.

A three-member high-level scientific team from Puri-based Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Directorate of Fisheries, and Fishery College of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) visited the fishing jetty near Gopalpur port for an on-spot investigation on Sunday.

The officials interacted with the local fishermen, probed whether the industrial effluents are getting into the sea and urea being washed into the sea.

“We have collected water samples. The PH is also on the higher side. We will be in a position to give a detailed report on the sixth day as we have to take BOD reading for five days,” CMFRI principal scientist, Rita Jayshankar said.

“We have collected samples from various places, including the jettey mouth. After the tests, we can give you a concrete report citing reasons under what circumstances this has taken place,” assistant director of fisheries (marine) Sarat Chandra Das said.

Notably, this is first such incident in the port town where thousands of fishes and other marine species have died due to unknown reasons.