Iraqi officials and fishermen are at a loss to explain how hundreds of tons of carp have suddenly died in fish farms in the Euphrates River, fueling anxieties about soaring water pollution.
Local authorities used excavators to skim dead fish from the river surface near the town of Hindiyah, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, where residents and local farmers have long complained about substandard water management.
The fish were being farmed in cages for sale in domestic markets, where grilled carp is considered a national dish, called masgouf. Ayad Talibi, head of Iraq’s Fish Producers’ Syndicate, called it “annihilation” and a blow to the country’s “strategic fish reserve.”
Water pollution and scarcity have been on the forefront of Iraqi discourse after matters reached crisis levels last summer. Health officials said some 100,000 people were taken to hospital for stomach illnesses in the southern Basra province, where sludge and yellow water was recorded fl owing out of the taps. Demonstrators rioted, demanding better services. (AFP)