Uganda denies reports of fish poisoning in Lakes Victoria, Kyoga



FILE PHOTO: Fishermen on a boat on the Lake Victoria. /Getty Images)

Ugandan authorities denied speculation that poisoning was the cause behind an increase in the death of fish in Lakes Victoria and Kyoga and the River Nile.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries was responding to media reports of dead fish floating on water and being washed ashore on parts of the three water bodies.

In a statement issued by the ministry, samples of the dead fish and water from the landing sites of the three water bodies have been collected and are currently being analyzed at three separate laboratories.

Fishermen at the landing sites said that though this (death) was a normal occurrence, the current rate was "much higher" as it was affecting both old and young Nile Perch, according to the ministry.

"As we await the comprehensive laboratory findings report due on Monday January 11


, 2020, preliminary investigations have ruled out fish poisoning, as only the Nile Perch species has been affected by this phenomenon," the statement said in part.

The ministry said it was possible that reduced oxygen levels in the lakes due to recent storms could be a possible cause of the deaths.

"However, tests are still being conducted and the general public will be updated on the findings from the tests.”

The ministry also appealed to the public to ignore calls circulated online urging people to stop eating fish as the dead fish are easily identifiable from regular catches.

The fishing community and the public along the shores of the water bodies have been urged to dispose the dead fish to reduce the stench of decay.

Environmentalists worry that the dumping of rubbish, raw waste, untreated chemicals and fertilizer into Lake Victoria and other water bodies contaminates them, deprives them of oxygen and kills fish and other aquatic life.

(With input from Uganda Media Center)