Hundreds Of Dead Fish Line Banks Of The New River

Posted By: Marty

Hundreds Of Dead Fish Line Banks Of The New River - 04/14/13 11:24 AM

Tonight, hundreds of dead fish are floating along the banks of the New River. It’s a peculiar situation that has been happening for years now.  The dead fish can be sited from the area of the BSI factory all the way up to the Toll Bridge. Residents living along these areas say the stench is unbearable but mostly importantly they fear for their health. From what we able to perceive, industrial pollution seems to be killing fish and nauseating residents. Today our news team visited the area to find out how severe the fish kill is and we even found a dead crocodile.

Screen_shot_2013-04-12_at_6.27.01_PMHipolito Novelo - Reporting

Tonight hundreds of dead fish decorate the banks of the New River that runs along Orange Walk Town.

This has been the scenario for the past week and according to families residing along the river banks each year around this time there is a strong scent from the river.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“We local fish like Crana’s, the Chack Pintas, we got Base Snooch’s, Mud fish, we see the Blue Cat Fish and we have turtles.  We have tourists on a daily basis on the river back and forth and they are seeing the same thing and they smell the river all bad and they want to know why the fish is floating up.”

The stench is unbearable and it stretches for about 6 to 7 miles from the Belize Sugar Industries Limited up to Tower Hill.  During our coverage, our camera even captured a dead crocodile among the dead fish. It seems that whatever is killing the fish is also affecting the habitat of other animals including birds, iguanas and this spider monkey.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“We noticed that the same birds that feed off the same fish, all birds are dying out and crocodiles, iguanas are dying, so we really want to know what the cause is.”

But what truly concerns residents living in the area, is the effect that the stench might have on their health.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“We got our same local people that goes around the river bank and inhaled it and they swim and they eat the same fish that is contaminated so we really want to make somebody do something about this.  I live around the river bank for the past 20 years and I have seen this happen at lest for the past 15 years like every year.”

Voice of Concerned Resident

“Right now we have a little north that is blowing in and couple days ago and we noticed that is was coming from the north and is floating out south.”

Hipolito Novelo – Reporter

“In your opinion, the amount of fishes can you say hundreds, hundreds or thousands, thousands?”

Voice of Concerned Resident

“Well, I could say thousands of fishes that are floating up and died what a shame and in different sizes from the small to the biggest ones for the past five days now.”

So what exactly is killing the fish? Residents have their own theory.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“I more believe that the same sugar cane factory, BSI, is the one responsible for all the fish, turtles, crocodiles, and birds that feeds off it and we the people that lives around the river, that them responsible for all the itch and rash, diarrhoea and vomiting.”

Hipolito Novelo – Reporter

“Is it the chemical waste that is being thrown into the river?’

Voice of Concerned Resident

“I believe so and I believe that it is from the same BSI factory.  Went down the river to view something and around the factory up down the river and we find out where the waste is coming out from and you can see it for your own self where all that waste if coming from and to where we saw the fish, so it is the only place we can point.  All the furthest that we can see is way to Shipyard and it is at least about 15 miles from here so imagine 15 miles of fish, turtle, crocodiles and even the people who live along we are getting affected by BSI.”

Families living along the affected areas are calling on the proper authorities to investigate the matter.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“Public health supposed to come out and we need Port Authority to come out and check all of these things here too, even BSI and the government should try to help us because if this keeps on going we will lose everything and we will lose our tourism too and myself as a tour guide, what a shame to have my own guest.”

When we contacted the Public Health Department in Orange Walk today, Public Health Officer Karol Heredia told us they were not aware of the situation which will now be investigated.

This evening we got in contact with Factory Manager of BSI John Gillette who assured us that what is causing the fish to die has nothing to do with BSI. In fact, Gillette told us that a water analysis has been conducted and that the contaminants are not being produced by the factory.


Posted By: Wizardofaahs

Re: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Line Banks Of The New River - 04/14/13 06:04 PM

Did John Gillette of BSI say what contaminants were found as a result of the water analysis? Surely someone will stay on top of this.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Line Banks Of The New River - 04/18/13 10:51 AM

DOE: No Answers Yet In OW Fish Kill

One week ago, hundreds of dead fish started showing up dead along the banks of the New River in Orange Walk all the way from the BSI factory to the Tower Hill Toll Bridge. Tonight, the Department of the Environment says that they are investigating but so far, they have not determined the cause of the fish kill. Water samples were collected for analysis and the results are not yet known. And while the DOE has vowed to get to the bottom of it – we’d say that first they just have to check their files, because ours show that seasonal fish kills have been happening in the area literally for decades – and residents say the most likely culprit is industrial pollution.

CTV-3 in Orange Walk reports that they also found a dead crocodile, and saw signs that birds, iguanas and Spider Monkeys are also affected. BSI has disavowed any responsibility and cited water tests to back up their position.

Channel 7

DOE Investigates Case Of Fish Kill

Last Friday we broke the news about the hundreds of dead fish that were seen floating along the banks of the New River stretching approximately six to seven miles from the Belize Sugar Industries Limited up to Tower Hill. Residents of the area are sounding alarm over what appears to be an environmental hazard that has been affecting aquatic life. Those living in the immediate area told CTV3 News that the stench is unbearable and it’s not the first time that the banks of the New River is seen covered with dead fish.

The massive fish kill has led to an investigation being launched by the Department of the Environment and the Public Health Department. CTV3 News understands that environmentalist visited the affected areas on Saturday and collected water samples to verify what exactly was causing the fish kill which was concentrated in the area of toll bridge. We understand that DOE personnel also noticed that small-sized fish were coming to the surface for air; these appearing to be in distress. The preliminary investigation; however, was unable to determine the exact cause of the fish kill. However, water samples from the river were collected for laboratory analyses. The results are pending. The Department of the Environment will be conducting follow-up investigations into this fish kill and will be monitoring the river to address the matter. The Department of the Environment is also asking the public to be vigilant and to immediately report to the DOE any other incident, in addition to fish kill, that may affect the quality of the river ecosystem.

We will keep monitoring the situation and bring you the results of the analysis as it becomes available.


Posted By: Marty

Re: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Line Banks Of The New River - 04/18/13 11:15 AM

Dead fish float near Orange Walk Toll Bridge

The Department of the Environment is investigating reports of a fish kill in the New River near the toll bridge. There are reports of fish kills in the same area at least once every year, and every year it is blamed on some material being pumped into the river by the Belize Sugar Industry’s factory. The D.O.E. reports that it has investigated and has ascertained that there is a fish kill concentrated in the area near the toll bridge, and has also observed that there are small fish on the surface of the water which seem to be in some distress. At news time today the D.O.E. has not been able to come to a definitive conclusion on the cause of the fish kill pending the results of lab tests on water samples. The department has stated, however, that it takes the matter very seriously and will be conducting follow up investigations and continuing its monitoring of the river. B.S.I. has denied that any material was pumped into the river which would affect the river’s ecosystem.

Channel 5
Posted By: Marty

Re: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Line Banks Of The New River - 04/30/13 11:26 AM

Investigations Into Fish Kill Continues

At the beginning of the month residents on the New River Bank and those who depend on the river for a living reported dead fishes floating on the water.  

Subsequent to that report, LOVE NEWS visited the river and confirmed the reports.  By mid month the Department of the Environment had a team taking samples of the river water for testing.  

The fish kill concentrated in the area of the Toll Bridge in Tower Hill but it extended up to seven miles upriver to the area of Shipyard.  From the time a press release was issued by the department not much has been known about the findings of the river water quality.  

Today we caught up with Chief Environmental Officer Martin Algeria who gave us an update.


" This Saturday they did one, the previous Saturday they did another assessment and they are compiling both reports and results of the labs that just are coming in, to analyze and see what it is that is causing it and where specifically it is concentrated. I don’t want to jump into any conclusion and tell you it is a, b or c but it's something that has been reoccurring for the past fifteen years since the department has been operating.  These fish kills come in that particular part of the river every time the rains come down or every time you have some type of draught like excessive heat we have that type of reaction from the river.  Usually because of so many years or decades of use of the river without environmental consciousness that they’re has been pollution to the extent that at the bottom at the river, let’s say there is the silt, the mud; every time you stir it up it raises that rich nutrient bottom that causes algae to  grow and then die and that absorbs oxygen from the water column causing the fish kills because it is oxygen being depleted due to algae rotting away."


"How would you guys explain that there was also a spider monkey dead in the water and also a crocodile and they don’t really need the air from the water to breath?"


"Those are things that I am telling you that we are trying to coordinate with the forest department and other agencies that have been part of and will continue to be to come with the conclusion on what happened. Like I mentioned, fifty years ago when we had the industries that exist that were operating, environmental consciousness just came in the nineteen seventies or eighties, so what is down there we have to work and manage properly so that we avoid these reoccurrences; it’s not a blame game.  You mentioned working relationship between us and most of the big companies in the country, we have a very good harmonious working relationship; even the medium sized companies and we are strengthening it as  the days goes by because of the environmental consciousness, the corporate responsibility towards it and the department and the ministry and government as whole are tightening on environmental issues as we go along."


Posted By: Marty

Re: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Line Banks Of The New River - 06/07/13 11:26 AM

Companies Near the New River Contribute to Recent Fish Kill; Investigation Ongoing

At the beginning of April residents of Orange Walk who live near the New River reported a fish kill. Following the reports, the Department of the Environment sent a team to investigate the cause of the dead fishes and other species in the Eco-environment.

The investigation is ongoing, but so far LOVE NEWS understands that the investigation found the fish kill is as a result of increased water temperature in the river water. The good news is that it doesn’t seem to be that the fish kill as a result of chemicals dumped into the river. What is known so far is that a certain company, of four which are on the banks of the New River, dumps boiling water into the river. The boiling water drastically increases the river water temperature consuming the oxygen that fishes need for survival eventually putting them into distress and die. Since April, the DOE has been meeting with all the companies that operate near to the New River to find ways in which this issue can be addressed and we are reliably informed that the DOE is getting the full cooperation of the companies. Experts in the field told LOVE NEWS that while boiling water is dumped in the river most times of the year, the situation gets worse during the sunny and dry season. Like we said, the investigation is ongoing and we will have more information on this in our subsequent news reports.


Posted By: Marty

Re: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Line Banks Of The New River - 06/09/13 11:08 AM

Dumping Of Boiling Caused April's Fish Kill In The New River

In the month of April the Department of the Environment responded to reports of sightings of dead fish floating in the New River, here in Orange Walk Town. As a result, the DOE launched an investigation in which the water quality of the river was tested from approximately 1 mile upstream from the Toll Bridge to around Trial Farm Village. The good news is that the fish kill was not as a result of chemicals dumped in the river as was originally believed but rather the tests revealed that the river, had at a particular area, elevated readings for temperature and low dissolve oxygen which means low oxygen level in water.

The elevated temperature in the water comes as a result of dumping boiling water into the river which consumes the oxygen the fish need to survive and leads them to distress and eventually to death. One of four companies that operate along the river bank is known to discharge boiling water into the river; however, the Department of the Environment has stated that they are getting the full support of the four companies to resolve the issue and prevent future occurrence.

Of note is that dumping of boiling water into the river happens throughout the year but the situation gets worst during the dry season.


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