A large number of fish and other marine animals are dying in the sea near the fishing jetty adjacent to Gopalpur port in Ganjam district of Odisha.
Loads of dead fish as well as other sea animals, including snakes and crabs, are getting washed ashore to this coast.
According to Ganjam coast marine fisherman community leader B.Simadri, this incident started occurring around a week ago. Their number increased with time. Several dead fish are floating near the coast, said fishermen.
The Fisheries department has taken the issue seriously and a team of experts from Puri centre of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) reached the spot on Sunday. They have collected samples of sea water from different places near this fishing jetty. Samples have also been collected from regions where effluents from industries near this coast mix with the sea water.
However, it has become a worry for the local fishermen. “Due to this, traditional marine fishermen are not getting catch near the coast and their boats do not have power and capacity to go extra distance in sea to get proper catch. It has started to affect their livelihood,” said Mangaraj Panda, a social activist working with the marine fisherman community.
Although the reason behind the deaths has not been determined yet, it is suspected that some kind of pollution of sea water could be the cause.
Environmental activist Prafulla Samantra said: “Sea pollution in this region may be due to release of poisonous effluents from a caustic soda manufacturing unit, Odisha Sands Complex (OSCOM) of Indian Rare Earths’ Limited (IREL), which are located in the area or it may be due to dumping of residual fertilisers in sea by some ship that may have come to Gopalpur port with cargo.”
There are chances of seepage of urea residue into sea from godowns of Gopalpur port, where imported fertiliser is stocked. Mr Samantra criticised the Odisha government for neglecting environmental aspects of industries at regular intervals due to which such incidents have occurred in sea near this fishing jetty.