15 tons of fish killed by fishermen who illegally poured lethal amounts of a commercial insecticide into Loreto’s Yanayacu River

Some 15 tons of fish and aquatic wildlife were killed after local fishermen, hoping to score the most abundant catch possible, poured a commercial and agricultural insecticide into Loreto’s Yanayacu River, daily Peru.21 reported Tuesday.

This is serious, an ecological catastrophe, said Fernando Fernández, the director of Amazonas-Yurimaguas’ Environmental Health program, a few days after the Yanayacu literally woke up “dead” with thousands of fish floating belly-up in its waters.

Not only have fish been killed, added Fernández, but their eggs and fry as well as the vegetation along the river’s shores have also been destroyed by the highly toxic poison.

According to a water analysis carried out over the weekend, the substance used was identified as Thiodan, a commericial and agricultural insecticide increasingly used by informal fishermen in the area.

“This product is toxic to birds, fish, and other wildlife,” reads Thiodan’s specimen label. “Birds feeding on treated areas may be killed. Do not apply directly to water, to areas where surface water is present… due to the risk of runoff and drift, do not apply within a distance of 300 feet of lakes, ponds, streams, and estuaries… do not apply where fish, shrimp, crab and other aquatif life are important resources.”

Though police seized more than five tons of poisoned fish destined for sale in local markets and identified 16 of the illegal fishermen, no arrests were made.

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