Coast KZN

26 Feb 2018

Umkomaas water pollution claims ‘exaggerated’

Juan Venter (South Coast Herald) Picture: The overly ‘set up’ scene of a dead baby shark and fish bones at Umkomaas Beach.

Investigations revealed that a nearby factory might not be to blame, as initially claimed.

Reports of water pollution at a famous fishing spot in Umkomaas came pouring in recently when numerous fish species were found washed up dead along the beachfront.

Locals took to social media to share the photos. However, investigations revealed that a nearby factory might not be to blame, as initially claimed.

A dead baby shark was seen on the beach, along with the words ‘water pollution’ written in the sand.

Nigel Eady – a concerned conservationist – felt that the cause of the shark and fish’s death was, despite a build-up of trash in the river, not linked to industrial pollution, but rather the work of unethical fishermen.

Mr Eady felt that some fishermen were not abiding to the ‘catch and release’ rule and simply dumping undersized fish, instead of putting them back into the water.

Among the dead species were skate, a cartilaginous fish belonging to the family Rajidae in the superorder Batoidea of rays.

Although edible, these fish, when returned to the water, tend to be battered against the rocks, resulting in their death as they attempt to swim back out to open waters – meaning that they eventually wash onto the beach.

Recent heavy rains inland are also believed to be behind a large amount of trash being washed down river, ending up on the beach.

It was suggested that had the water in fact been contaminated by industrial pollution, the death count of fish, and especially crabs, would be far higher – and this would also result in the death of various birds. Signs of this were not present.