Now, lab tests have confirmed that dead fish discovered in Jordan’s Gulf of Aqaba this September were in fact poisoned by chemical substances. In early September, teams from the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS) discovered several dead fish floating in the Gulf of Aqaba. Samples were collected to identify cause of death and these indicated that chemical substances dumped in the gulf had proved fatal to the fish.
According to reports in the Jordan Times, JREDS Executive Director Fadi Sharaiha believed that the fish poisoning occurred after illegal dumping of toxic substances into the sea. He also stated that the dead fish could have resulted from a failed attempt by a fisherman to sedate the fish. This is the second case of its kind this year.
Tropical Fish For The Black Market
As a safety precaution the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) which works to protect the environment of the region, were also alerted so that they could carry out any further investigations. ASEZA monitor the beach as well as the meat and fish sold from the waters of the Aqaba to ensure they are safe for human consumption. The Environment Commissioner of ASEZA Salim Moghrabi, however refuted speculation that irresponsible fishermen had caused the death of the fish.
He told Jordan Times, “Fisherman in the Gulf of Aqaba are law-abiding and they use legal and traditional ways to catch fish.” Moghrabi explained that the poisoned fish were likely to be the result of people illegally using chemical substances to sedate tropical fish to sell them as pets on the black market. Green Prophet has already written about the illegal trade in endangered species in UAE and other Middle Eastern countries and the environmental destruction that they cause.
Joint Responsibility To Protect Marine Life
The Gulf of Aqaba has a unique coral reef and ecosystem which consists of 127 species of hard coral and 300 kinds of soft coral as well as thousands of plants and animals. Sharaiha of JREDS urged locals to remain vigilant and to report any individuals seen dumping substances into the sea. “Preserving marine life is a joint responsibility,” he added.
In fact, young Jordanians have recently taken part in nationwide debate competition about water resources and caring for the environment. Jordan Times reported that HRH Princess Basma of Jordan spoke about the important role that young people play in the task of raising awareness and fostering the change needed to ensure sustainable water management.
This focus on the role the youth follows Jordanian Environment Minister Hazem Amin‘s remark at the recent Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers that, “The Islamic world includes a high of children and youth, and the future is theirs. Therefore, we have to preserve our natural resources and all that they need for the future.”
::Image via Alex Polezhaev
For More On Jordan and the Environment: