BALIK PULAU: The carcasses of dead fish washed up along several beaches here are not a sign of an impending disaster, says the Penang Fisheries Department.
It said that its investigation found that the red snappers and trevallies were from nearby fish farms, adding that the fish died due to a sudden bloom of algae in the water – a natural phenomenon which occurs annually.
Its director Noraisyah Abu Bakar said the department has received reports of fishes dying in stages at Kuala Kurau, Kuala Gula and Tanjung Piandang.
“According to the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI), the high presence of Cochlodinum algae in the water which occurs annually worldwide is the cause as they are toxic to various fish and shellfish. However, it does not affect humans, ” said Noraisyah.
She added that the fish found floating in the water and decomposing along shores died due to the algae bloom.
“The algae bloom reduces oxygen in the water, causing the fish to surface and eventually die,” she said.
Noraisyah added that fish in the wild are not affected as they are able to escape.
“Wild fish are not dying in large numbers and fishermen are still reporting good catches at sea,” she said.
On Wednesday, social media went abuzz with videos and photos of the fishes lying dead along shores in Teluk Kumbar and various beaches in the area, with some weighing over a kilogram.
This led people to speculate that a tsunami had happened, while others blamed pollution.