Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have temporarily suspended fishing in a part of Lake Kivu in Minova, South Kivu province, following reports of dead fish rising to the surface, according to local media reports.
Reports indicate that locals began seeing the dead fish surface since Friday and a team from the Ministries of the Environment and Health had been dispatched to investigate the cause of the deaths.
Some residents and local authorities suspect the deaths may have been caused by methane gas.
Dede Mwamba, a local administrator in the territory of Kalehe urged the population not to fish at the lake or even go near it until further notice.
“It must be methane gas, but we are still investigating to find out more,” Mwamba said.
However, Jean-Pierre Muongo, who owns a gas and hydrocarbons company, disputed the claims and said the cause of the deaths could be another factor.
“We will have to take one of the fish to the ISP Bukavu laboratory and there they can find out what is the cause of the death of these fish,” Muongo said.
In September last year, leakages from a diamond mine caused pollution that killed huge numbers of fish in the Kasai River Basin, particularly along the Tshikapa River.
(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)