Common Snakehead or Aruan (Channa striata)
Tampines Quarry, 1st January 2017

Dead fish found in the Bernam River may be the result of contamination of the water by farms, says Rusna.

Malaysia: Farms along river may be cause of fish deaths in Perak
By Loghun Kumaran, 6th April 2017;

A poultry farm in Kampung Kelawar is believed to be responsible for the large quantity of freshwater fish that has died in Bernam River since last December.

State executive councillor Datuk Rusnah Kassim said yesterday investigations into the source of the contamination led to the farm along Slim River.

However, she said, it was possible it was not the only polluter as there were other farms along the river.

“At the moment, we can only say it may have come from this farm. We are not certain yet,” the Behrang assemblyman told a press conference.

“However, based on our checks, the farm was discharging its sewage directly into the river. We have given the operator until May 31 to improve its sewage treatment system.

"If the rules are not adhered to, we won’t hesitate to shut it down or take further action.”

Rusnah said there had not been reports of residents falling sick from eating fish from the river.

The death of thousands of freshwater fish along the 30km stretch of Bernam River has left local fishermen in distress.

The chief of the Muallim District Fisheries Volunteers (SUPER) Saiful Zizuan Mahayuddin said the fishermen had reported four incidents of “mass deaths” since December.

During each of these incidents, scores of fish would swim in an erratic manner close to the surface and would end up dead the next day.

The association believed the contamination was caused by an industrial source, but was unable to pinpoint where the effluents were coming from.

Saiful said some fishermen reported their catch dropped by 70 per cent during these “mass deaths”.

“If the fish start to turn up dead today, we won’t get a good catch for about seven days. This is worrisome for the 200 inland fishermen in this area,” he said.

“It seems like an unending problem because we don’t know how long it will go on. All we know is that something is wrong.”

Saiful said the fishermen had lodged reports with the police, the Department of Environment, the Fisheries Department and the District Office.

He said there were about 70 species of freshwater fish in Bernam River, including baung (Catfish) (F. Bagridae), lampan (Tinfoil Barb) (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii), haruan (Snakehead Murrel) (Channa striata) and sebarau (Hampala Barb) (Hampala macrolepidota).

Like their colleagues around the country, inland fishermen along Bernam River rake in a fluctuating amount of money a day.

During a good month, they can catch RM 2,000 worth of fish but this number can decrease sharply.

“The fish here are highly sought after for their taste. This is because the Bernam River has largely remained unpolluted until now,” said Saiful.

“We need the authorities to act. They need to find the source of the contamination and shut it don immediately. Our livelihood is at stake.”

State Fisheries Department director Dr Bah Piyan Tan said water samples taken earlier this month found elevated levels of ammonia and acidity.

On March 27, fisheries officials found “quite acidic” pH levels of 5.8 and an ammonia content of 0.24ppm, which are above the normal levels.

On March 14, the pH level was 6.3, while the ammonia levels were down at 0.2ppm.

“These are not natural levels. Usually a river should have a neutral or slightly alkaline pH level,” said Bah Piyan.

Source: Malay Mail

Dead fish were found in a portion of Binalbagan River in Barangay Quintin Remo in Moises Padilla town.
Photo: Jed Jabonete Gumban

Philippines: Fish kill hits river in southern Negros
By Erwin P. Nicavera, 25th May 2016;

Two barangays in Isabela town, situated along Binalbagan River in southern Negros Occidental, reported a fish kill possibly caused by sulfur contamination following heavy rains that washed out ash fall emitted by Mt. Kanlaon.

Arturo Calma, municipal agriculture officer of Isabela, told Sun.Star Bacolod on Tuesday, May 24, that fish kill incidents were recorded in Barangays Tinongan and Panaquiao starting Monday afternoon, May 23.

Calma said that sacks of dead fishes, particularly Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.), Mudfish (Common Snakehead) (Channa striata), and Eel (F. Anguillidae and F. Synbranchidae), were found floating on the river, some covered with mud.

“We have learned that some residents are even collecting dead fish for consumption,” Calma said, adding that monitoring and assessment is being conducted by the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Municipal Agriculture Office.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) through its Fisheries Division took water and mud samples from the two affected barangays on Tuesday.

Aquaculture technician Constancio Española Jr. said they will subject the samples to laboratory analysis to determine the actual cause of the fish die-off.

Aside from Isabela, fish kill incidents were also reported in some areas of Binalbagan, La Castellana, and Moises Padilla located along the Binalbagan River.

But Española said there is no confirmation yet from Binalbagan and Isabela.

“The last positive fish kill incident in La Castellana was last April this year, but for now, there is no confirmed reports from the area,” he said.

The Provincial Disaster Management Program Division (PDMPD) is also validating reports on fish kill, said its head Zephard Gerhart Caelian.

Caelian said heavy rains over the weekend washed out the ashfall from Mt. Kanlaon toward nearby bodies of water, including Binalbagan River.

“The high contamination of sulfur in the river might have resulted from the pyroclastic material flow brought by the recent ash fall emission of the volcano,” Caelian said, adding that according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), “it is a normal occurrence.”

Last May 11, a sulfurous odor that lasted for almost 10 hours was smelled in portions of La Carlota City and La Castellana town, particularly those living near Mt. Kanlaon.

For areas with confirmed fish kill incidents, PDMPD warned residents to avoid consuming dead fish, or even swimming in the affected-portions of the river.

“Exposure and intake of contaminated water pose health hazards, including poisoning and skin diseases,” Caelian said.

Source: Sun.Star

Photo: Julie Anne Jimena Celzo Facebook

Philippines: Fish kills reported in Pangasinan and Negros Occidental; bangus prices fall
By John Ted Cordero, 25th May 2016;

Changes in weather pattern have caused fish kills in two municipalities of Pangasinan.

According to a report on News To Go on Wednesday, the fish kills occurred in the municipalities of Anda and Bolinao.

Fish trade in two barangays of Bolinao and Anda were affected by the said fish kill.

Thirty percent of bangus (Milkfish) (Chanos chanos) have died causing the prices to fall at P10 per kilo, the report said.

The municipal agriculturist explained that the fish kills were caused by changing weather.

He added the weather is very hot during morning but rain will fall suddenly in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, a fish kill was also reported in Binalbagan River in the municipality of Isabela, Negros Occidental.

According to the Municipal Agriculture Office of Isabela, various fishes like Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) and haluan (Common Snakehead) (Channa striata) died after rainfall.

Authorities are looking into sulfur contamination as the cause of the fish kill, the report said.

Ashes and pyroclastic materials from Mt. Kanloan were possibly washed through Binalbagan River.

Authorities advised residents not to eat the dead fishes as these might poison them.

They also took mud and water samples from the river to find out the real cause of the fish kill.

Source: GMA News Online

Malaysia: Action pledged on river pollution in Penang

Scores of fish such as keli, haruan and Tilapia found dead along Sungai Dondang.
26th June 2015;

The Penang Government has directed the island city council (MBPP) to take stern action, including revoking the licences, of a vegetarian food processing factory and a laundry shop for allegedly causing the death of fish in Sungai Dondang, Paya Terubong.

On Monday scores of fish such as keli (Catfish) (Siluriformes), haruan (Common Snakehead) (Channa striata) and Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) were found dead along Sungai Dondang, a tributary of Sungai Pinang. The Department of Environment (DOE) has taken samples of the river water for tests and the results will be known in a week.

State executive councilor Chow Kon Yeow said investigations by DOE, the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and MBPP revealed that the two errant parties caused the river pollution.

He assured the outlets would face the full brunt of the law, including possible closure and fine. “The city council has been directed to take stern action against the culprits, including revoking their licenses,” Chow told newsmen when visiting the site.

Present were DID director Anuar Yahya, northeast district engineer Haslinda Mohd Hamran and DOE state director Norhayati Yahaya.

He expressed disappointment that such incidents took place despite various campaigns carried out to educate people against disposing toxic waste into rivers. The responsibility to keep rivers clean and pollution free was not only that of the authorities, but also the public, he added.

He felt sad that marine life had died and urged the public to take on the responsibility to ensure that rivers remained clean. Moreover, he said, the state received encouraging reports that the river water quality was improving.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Action pledged on river pollution in Penang

Malaysia: Hundreds of fish dead in Sungai Pinang

By Looi Sue-Chern, 25th June 2015;

The Penang government and environmental authorities are investigating why hundreds of fish in Sungai Dondang, Paya Terubong, Penang, turned up dead earlier this week.

State local government exco Chow Kon Yeow said Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will take stern action against the party found to be responsible for the river pollution that killed some five different types of fresh water fish, including haruan (Common Snakehead) (Channa striata), eel (Swamp Eel)(?) (Monopterus javanensis) and catfish (Siluriformes).

He said there was no proof yet but the council had found three premises, which only one had permit, that could have caused the pollution.

“The council had previously issued notices to the premises, which were discharging effluent into the river but we haven’t determined whether they are the culprits yet because the state environmental department is still investigating the cause,” he said.

“When we find out who did this, MBPP will take stern action, such as shutting down the business or revoking the license.”

“We are really saddened by this incident.”

“It was only last week that we felt encouraged by the sightings of otters in Sungai Pinang.”

“It was a sign that the water quality of the river had improved,” he told reporters during a site visit in Paya Terubong.

Chow said it only showed that the level of awareness among the public and business operators was still lacking and the authorities would have to step up on its engineering, enforcement and education initiatives to prevent this from happening again.

He also said the authorities were in the process of identifying all buildings on the banks of Sungai Pinang, and the exercise would be extended to its tributaries as well.

“We also have limited resources, so our current focus on promoting behavioural change and positive transformation is on the river basin catchment areas of Batu Ferringhi and Sungai Pinang,” he said.

Sungai Dondang is one of the tributaries of Sungai Pinang, one of the main rivers on Penang Island.

The dead fish incident was reported to the authorities on Monday.

Northeast district drainage and irrigation department (DID) engineer Haslinda Mohd Hamran said the department investigated and found that the areas affected were in parts of Sungai Dondang, Sungai Air Itam and Sungai Pinang.

She said samples had been taken and sent for testing to find out what caused the fish to die.

State environmental department director Nor Hayati Yahaya said environment officers also checked the pH level of the water and found it normal.

“But we are still waiting for the chemical department report on the samples we took from the river, so we can find out whether the pollution was caused by nearby industries.”

“Industrial activities could be the source but we also must bear in mind that when we took the samples on Tuesday, the effects of the pollution reported a day before might have been lost already.”

“There have been no new incidents since we got the complaint on Monday,” she said.

Hayati said the department also checked a nearby laundry business and a factory producing vegetarian food but did not find them discharging effluent into the river.

State DID director Anuar Yahya said there had been no similar cases reported on the island before and urged the public to help the authorities by keeping an eye on the rivers.

“We don’t have the capacity to monitor the rivers around the clock and we need the public to report to us whenever something happens,” he said.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Malaysia: Hundreds of fish dead in Sungai Pinang

Common Snakehead or Aruan (Channa striata)
Sungei Buloh, 12th March 2014

This Common Snakehead was one of several adult snakeheads that perished when one of the freshwater ponds at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve dried up during the dry spell that occurred earlier this year.

Although some snakehead species are capable of surviving droughts by burrowing into the mud and aestivating, or escaping shrinking water bodies by wriggling over dry land in search of new refuges, it appears that these individuals were too large, and the nearest large pond too far away, for any of these survival strategies to be effectively employed.