Hundreds of Mullet fish were discovered dead in the river along Sungai Balok Makmur and Sungai Tonggak in Kuantan, Pahang, Jan 5, 2016.

Malaysia: Hundreds of fish found dead in Sungai Balok Makmur and Sungai Tonggak, Pahang
5th January 2016;

Residents of Kampung Seberang Balok Makmur were shocked with the discovery of hundreds of dead Mullets (F. Mugilidae) in Sungai Balok Makmur and Sungai Tonggak here today.

A restaurant operator at the village, Khairul Azmi Yahya, 30, said he realised the odd occurrence where hundreds of fish were found floating on the river and stranded on the banks at 7am, when he was about to open shop.

“It was strange because there were many white objects floating in the river and when I went closer, I realised they were actually Mullets. I wondered why only Mullets were turning up dead, as the fish is known to be highly resistant,” he told Bernama when met here today.

Khairul Azmi added that many residents who were on their way to stopped by to watch and take pictures of the occurrence.

He said, however, the number of fish (being washed up the bank) had declined in the afternoon as they were drifted away by the currents.

“I hope the cause of death of these fish can be informed to the people here, because there are some industries around the river. It is worrying as there could be chemicals that may be harmful to health or to children who play in the water here” he said.

Meanwhile, another restaurant operator Rafizah Abdul Rahman, 25, hoped all the fish would be swept away by high tides this evening, as she feared the stench of dead fish may affect her customers or residents in the village.

Meanwhile, Pahang Fisheries director Adnan Hussain when contacted confirmed the department had received a report on the death of the fish and they had collected samples to determine the cause of the incident.

“We have taken water samples and tested certain parameters such as the rate of dissolved oxygen, turbidity levels and the pH of the water in the area,” he said.

Source: Malay Mail

A man stands near dead fishes on the banks of Sungai Tongak in Kuantan today.
Photos: Afif Abd Halim

Malaysia: Dead fish leave Kuantan residents uneasy over bauxite spills
By Muzliza Mustafa, 5th January 2016;

Hundreds of dead fish washed up in Sungai Toggek in Gebeng, Pahang, this morning have put residents in the area on alert to the possibility of bauxite contamination.

Businessman Idahar Zulkupli, 40, said this is the first time he saw the dead fish washed up from the river in the area and feared it could be because of bauxite mining.

Idahar, who has lived in the area since childhood, said that the suspicion was valid as the state was hit by the effects from uncontrolled bauxite mining.

“I cannot say for sure that bauxite was the cause of what happened today but i fear that this could be the reason. It can also be because of the chemical accidentally released by the factories from the industrial area here,” said Idahar.

He added that two days prior to today’s incident, the water at Pantai Balok went murky.

“It was pretty bad. It’s not the normal sea water. It smells of dirt, earth. Then this happened. I can’t help thinking that this could be because of bauxite,” said the man.

The dead fish along Toggek River were spotted by passers-by at 8.30am who then alerted the authorities, including the Fisheries Department.

PAS’s Beserah state assemblyman Andansuran Rabu said that the agency came at about 10am to take dead fish and water samples from the scene and would be sending it to the Chemistry Department for tests.

“All we want is for the result to be made available to all once it’s ready. We do not know if it’s from bauxite but people are scared,” he said.

He added that the river is also near to bauxite stockpile storage.

“The storage is on top of a hill some 1.5km from the river. When it rained, the water will flow into the river,” he said.

Rampant bauxite mining has been blamed for turning rivers and the shoreline off Kuantan, on Peninsular Malaysia’s east coast, red after two days of heavy rain earlier last week.

Since Kuantan ramped up its mining of bauxite for export to China last year, residents in the area have complained about pollution, caused by red dust from the mining and leakage from lorries transporting bauxite to the Kuantan port.

It was reported that in the first 11 months of 2015, Malaysia exported more than 20 million tonnes of bauxite to China, up nearly 700% on the previous year.

In 2013, it only shipped around 162,000 tonnes.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

A week after the “red sea” phenomenon at Balok beach here, nearby villagers were in for another shock today when they found hundreds of dead fish floating in Sungai Tonggak near Gebeng.
Photo: Farizul Hafiz Awang

Malaysia: Dead fish nothing unusual: Pahang state fisheries director
By T.N. Alagesh, 5th January 2016;

A week after the “red sea” phenomenon at Balok beach here, nearby villagers were in for another shock today when they found hundreds of dead fish floating in Sungai Tonggak near Gebeng.

However, State fishery authorities claim that initial tests revealed the cause of the dead fish most likely had nothing to do with the recent phenomenon.

Balok Makmur Rukun Tetangga chairman Abdul Rahman Ali, 57, said villagers spotted dead ikan belanak (Mullet) (F. Mugilidae) washed up on the sand banks during low tide about 7.30am.

He said as far as he knew, there were no bauxite stockpiles near the river banks.

“However, the contaminated water might have come from other sources including the drains or maybe the (contaminated) red sea waters last week killed the fish before being swept by currents into this part of the river.

"As villagers sometimes cast their nets in the river, I hope the authorities will conduct checks to confirm if the fish in the river is safe for consumption,” he said when met today.

Meanwhile, Ab Razak Musa, 56, from Taman Seberang Balok said it was the second time such an incident occurred in the village.

“A similar incident occurred some time ago but there were fewer dead fish compared to now.

"With the bauxite issue a hot topic, we cannot rule out any possibility that river contamination from bauxite has killed the fish,” he said.

Meanwhile State Fisheries director Adnan Hussain said his officers had conducted several tests and collected water samples for analysis.

“After some tests by our officers, the results showed that the incident was nothing unusual.

"Initial tests showed the (cause of) dead fish had nothing to do with silt and mud. No other rivers here are affected except for Sungai Tonggak,” he said.

He said a detailed report on the incident was expected to be complete in a week.

Source: New Straits Times