MPs voice con­cern on fish kill

Buy­ers urged to be­ware

Arab Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Abubakar A. Ibrahim

KUWAIT CITY, April 29: Law­mak­ers have called on the con­cerned gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties, es­pe­cially the En­vi­ron­ment Pub­lic Au­thor­ity (EPA), to re­veal the rea­son be­hind the fish kill and to stop blam­ing fish­er­men for this se­ri­ous and re­cur­ring in­ci­dent.

In a press state­ment, Al-Kan­dari stressed the need to quickly ad­dress the prob­lem which threat­ens the coun­try’s food se­cu­rity. He urged EPA to sub­mit a de­tailed re­port to the Par­lia­ment, em­pha­siz­ing the need for a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­sid­er­ing the prob­lem re­curs ev­ery year with­out any rad­i­cal so­lu­tion.

He called on the leg­isla­tive and ex­ec­u­tive au­thor­i­ties to take re­spon­si­bil­ity and to hold ac­count­able any­body proven to have caused the prob­lem.

MP Ab­dul Karim Al-Kan­dari un­der­scored the need for the gov­ern­ment to take ac­tion im­me­di­ately due to the ris­ing fish mor­tal­ity and pol­lu­tion lev­els in Kuwait’s seas. He said those who tried to dis­re­gard the prob­lem made it look like a pass­ing cloud and then pointed ac­cusatory fin­gers at fish­er­men.

MP Riyadh Al-Ad­sani called for in­ten­si­fied ef­forts to solve the prob­lem on the part of com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties such as EPA, Kuwait In­sti­tute for Sci­en­tific Re­search (KISR) and Pub­lic Au­thor­ity for Agri­cul­ture Af­fairs and Fish Re­sources (PAAAFR).

He added the min­istries of Com­merce, Health and Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Af­fairs must work to­wards con­tin­u­ous in­spec­tion and en­sure strict com­pli­ance with reg­u­la­tions to pro­tect pub­lic health. He said the Min­istry of In­te­rior must con­duct aerial in­spec­tions to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of the en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phe.

He also un­veiled a plan to ask the par­lia­men­tary En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Com­mit­tee to con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tions, stress­ing the gov­ern­ment must bear the re­spon­si­bil­ity con­sid­er­ing this is not a new

prob­lem and mil­lions have been spent to solve it.

He went on to say that pre­serv­ing the nat­u­ral stock of fish and en­sur­ing safety of marine en­vi­ron­ment should be the pri­or­i­ties of the ex­ec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive au­thor­i­ties.

Ear­lier, the Kuwaiti Fish­er­men Union de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tion that fish­er­men caused the fish kill.

In its of­fi­cial state­ment, the union as­serted, “With bro­ken hearts, we closely fol­lowed up the fish kill is­sue, in­clud­ing the ac­cu­sa­tions that EPA hurled at fish­er­men. We were sur­prised that de­spite the facts pre­sented to EPA, it keeps on blam­ing fish­er­men.

“We call on EPA to re­veal the truth and stop mak­ing ac­cu­sa­tions with­out ev­i­dence. Fishes are dy­ing due to the high level of sea pol­lu­tion and the con­cerned au­thor­ity is hurl­ing ac­cu­sa­tions with­out con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions. This hap­pened de­spite the pub­li­ca­tion of photos show­ing the fish kill phe­nom­e­non on so­cial me­dia.

“We, the fish­er­men, are keen on main­tain­ing safety of the marine en­vi­ron­ment more than oth­ers be­cause it is our only source of liveli­hood. EPA must shoul­der its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, pro­tect the marine en­vi­ron­ment and pre­vent pol­lu­tion in the bay which is the world’s sec­ond largest fish re­serve.”

KUNA adds:

The Min­istry of Health on Sat­ur­day quashed so­cial me­dia re­ports on a state­ment warn­ing against eat­ing seafood, es­pe­cially con­tam­i­nated fish that can cause can­cer.

Nei­ther the min­istry, nor its food lab has is­sued state­ments on fish mor­tal­ity, spokesman Dr Ah­mad Al-Shatti, added in a press re­lease.

The lab re­ceives lo­cal, and im­ported fish re­ferred to it by the Kuwait Mu­nic­i­pal­ity. So far, it has not ex­am­ined the dead fish, he said.

The min­istry is play­ing due role, co­or­di­nat­ing and co­op­er­at­ing with the bodies con­cerned with food safety, such as the En­vi­ron­ment Pub­lic Au­thor­ity (EPA), Al-Shatti said.

He urged cit­i­zens and ex­pats not to buy fish from the un­li­censed and un­of­fi­cial out­lets that do not ap­ply the least stan­dards and con­di­tions of food safety.

Photo by Rizk Taw­fik

A worker col­lect­ing dead fish washed ashore the coast of Kuwait.

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