Perpetrators of illegal fishing in Kulkpong River deserve prosecution

The police in the Upper West Region have announced investigation into the poisoning of the Kulkpong River that runs through the Gbelle Resource Reserve in the region by some fishermen in order to harvest large quantities of fish for sale.

The reserve is a wildlife-protected area of the country closest to Burkina Faso.

According to them, they are also collaborating with the other organisations concerned such as the Fisheries Commission and the Food and Drugs Authority in a manhunt for the main culprits in the incident.

It is the hope of everyone that the chase would be successful and the culprits prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

The act by the men being sought has brought in its trail issues that need urgent and serious tackling.

One of them is the refusal of community members to disclose the identities and whereabouts of the culprits or suspects.

This attitude is rife in the country; where members of the public know wrongdoers yet refuse to point out such nation wreckers.

They would rather like to backbite them and quickly change the conversation or deny it when they are confronted.

This is the kind of hypocrisy reigning in all sectors of the society making it difficult to fight against the rot in the system, including corruption among politicians and others.

What is sad about it is that only the bad elements and their cohorts profit from the situation, leaving the majority of the people to suffer.

The substantive issue, however, has to do with the illegal fishing act and all its implications.

Illegal fishing activity refers to any method of catching fish and related matters that contravene the fisheries regulations acts and laws.

The case at the centre of this piece is using poisonous chemicals to catch fish in a river.

Once the fish died of the chemical, it follows, as already pointed out by the experts, that the catch is contaminated.

What is worrying is that the fish is said to be on the market and since it is not easy for the uninitiated to identify the contaminated fish, consumers somewhere may have already taken in some.

Fish scientists claimed contaminated fish may contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are a group of synthetic organic chemicals that contain toxic chemicals.

It is said that PCBs may affect the immune system, reproductive organs, skin, stomach, thyroid, kidney, and liver and may increase the risk of cancer.

Besides, women who eat fish that contains PCBs may give birth to infants with lower birth weights, delayed physical development, and learning difficulties. 

This means consuming fish caught with poisonous chemicals has huge negative health implications.

The other problem is that the life of other aquatic animals and plants is threatened.

Some creatures like frogs and snakes would suffer needless deaths and even plants even close to the bank of the water body may die.

What is most worrying is that the contaminated Kulkpong River is a source of portable water for the people in the area and if care is not taken and something urgent done to prevent the obvious, the people are heading for a health hazard.

It should also be remembered that Kulkpong is running through a reserve and animals there can drink water from it.

Unless otherwise handled by the scientists naturally, if it becomes necessary to treat from the river that is going to involve money that could have been used for something else to advance the country’s development.

The analysis shows that the fishermen who polluted the river to catch fish have committed a heinous crime for which they must not be let off the hook.

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