MALACCA: The sudden appearance of thousands of dead tilapia floating on the surface of the Malacca River near Taman Rumpun Bahagia in Bachang has left even the state Environment Department puzzled.
Malacca Environment Department director Shafe'ee Yasin however, confirmed that the river was not threatened by industrial pollutants.
"Initial investigations by DOE revealed that the river was not contaminated by industrial effluents as there were no factories nearby," he said.
"We have collected samples of the river water, but we have yet to finalise its results," he said when contacted by New Straits Times here today.
Shafe'ee said based on previous incidents of dead fish found in the Malacca River, the freshwater tilapia can be assumed to have been killed by a sudden influx of seawater to the opening of the barrage.
"Freshwater fish living in the Malacca River may likely die as they are unable to tolerate the high salinity in the water after mixing with sea water.
"Another possibility is the effects of sediments on the fishes, where they die from low oxygen," he added.
Shafe'ee said the department will not hesitate to take action against industrial operations found to be releasing industrial waste into the Malacca River.
"We will check and take action if industrial sites are found to be releasing effluents including during odd hours," he added.
Checks by the New Straits Times found that the river had since been cleared of fish carcasses.
Meanwhile, Bukit Katil MCA Youth chief Lee Chong Guan and Bukit Katil Gerakan secretary Nelson Goh Jin Juan, who visited the site, urged authorities to identify to cause of the high number of dead fish.