Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thousands of Dead fish appear on Tarout beach, Saudi Arabia

The Eastern Province Fishermen’s Federation has blamed land-filling and worksite dumping for the appearance of thousands of dead fish covering a 400-meter stretch of beach at Tarout Island in Qatif.

According to Al-Watan Arabic daily, the fish and wide variety of other sea creatures have appeared in the last few days on the shore of the beach running alongside the Al-Mishari district, leaving a long two-meter-wide strip of rotting material emitting a foul stench across the area.

“This has been caused by dumping and land-filling which a local contract developer has been doing,” Ja’far Al-Safwani, head of the EP Fishermen’s Federation, told the newspaper. “It has led to the area of water being turned into an almost completely enclosed lake, changing the environment and killing fish in large numbers.”

He said that the cessation of water movement and rise in temperatures had produced a “red tide” and reduction in oxygen levels.

“There has been a lack of environmental awareness and no studies were made before the land-filling began,” he said.

Al-Safwani called for a committee to be set up to study the issue and penalize the parties responsible for “destruction of the environment and death of fish”.

“This region needs protecting. It is an invaluable national resource,” he said.
An official from the Eastern Province Fish Wealth Department said he knew “nothing of the incident” and that his office had received no report on the matter, which would be expected to come from the Border Guard.

A regional spokesman for the Border Guard, who suggested sewage outlets in the area as another possible cause of the dead fish, said that a report had been sent, however, while municipal council member Riyadh Al-Mustafa said the mayoralty should have acted sooner.

“A letter was sent to the mayoralty by the municipal council concerning a strategy for beaches in the area, but no response was received,” Al-Mustafa said. “That has led to things like this, and it will only get worse.” Source