Department of Information and Public Relations
Officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour continue to investigate the cause of a fish kill that occurred at Josiah’s Bay Pond.
Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering was on sight to examine the area and consulted with the Ministry and the Department of Conservation and Fisheries personnel as preliminary investigations show indications of low oxygen levels in the pond.
Honourable Pickering said, "There appears to be very low oxygen levels in the pond water which may be as a result of the high algae concentration; this may also be the result of the high temperatures due to climate change."
High inland water temperatures can decrease the abundance and distribution of wild fish stocks in ponds by reducing the water quality. However, the most significant contributor of change in inland aquaculture and fisheries is floods and droughts that result from increasing seasonal and annual variability in precipitation.
Climate change is already beginning to affect plants and animals that live in freshwater lakes and ponds, altering their habitat and bringing life-threatening stress and disease. Freshwater fish species adapted to cold waters are particularly vulnerable to warming as they experience unfavourably high temperatures.
Director of Disaster Management, Sharleen DaBreo also stated that, "Climate change is not only increasing the intensity of hurricanes but it is also resulting in low-oxygen levels which is related to high water temperatures, high concentrations of fish, and perhaps most importantly, large amounts of early-blooming algae, whose growth was boosted by nutrients added to the water from runoff.”
She added, “Climate change is happening so fast that many species are struggling to cope with the effects, as we have been seeing recently, many of them are at increased risks and the results can be very disturbing."
The Department of Conservation and Fisheries will be testing the water at the pond and a further update will be provided.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour will continue to seek to ensure that the environment on which we depend are managed in a sustainable manner for the greatest possible benefit of the people of the Virgin Islands.
Photo Attached: Fish kill at Josiah’s Bay Pond