“Ammonia poisoning” blamed for mass fish die-off in Egypt’s Delta: official

CAIRO: The mass fish die-off, currently seen off Egypt’s western Nile branch city of Rosetta, is caused by ammonia poisoning and lack of oxygen in the water, water ministry sources said Wednesday.

“Preliminary testing carried out on the water and the dead fishes indicate that most fishes suffocated due to the hot weather and lack of oxygen in overloaded commercial fishing farms concentrated in the area,” Engineer Ahmed Fathy of the Water Ministry told Youm7 Tuesday.

During the past few days, picture of the dead fish reportedly floating on the Nile near Rosetta circulated on social media websites. Residents at the city panicked and refrained from drinking water from the tap for five days, Youm7 reported.

“The fish are dying due to the winter blockage of the Nile water that takes place in July and August every year. It causes a notable reduction in the amount of oxygen in the water,” undersecretary of the Helath Ministry for preventive medicine Amr Qandeel told Youm7.

“During the past five days, the department has disposed over 1,000 tons of dead fish in several fish markets in the Delta governorates,” said Qandeel.

Thousands of privately-owned fish farms, most of which are unauthorized, are seen along the Rosetta branch of the Nile especially around Kafr al-Sheikh governorate; a home to over 25,000 farms.

Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazy vowed to remove all the commercial fish farms in the area. “It is a matter of national security,” Moghazy was quoted by Youm7.

Ammonia is used in manufacturing dyeing materials, pesticides, plastics and detergents.

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