Carp ‘annihilated’ as Iraq’s water pollution woes worsen

HINDIYAH, Iraq (AP) — 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.
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 flowing out of the taps.
Demonstrators rioted, demanding better services.
Wissam Muslani, deputy governor for Babil province, which includes Hindiyah, said initial tests suggested it was the result of a virus that infected the gills.
"My first message is that make sure nobody eats any fish.
Photos and video of the carp-clogged Euphrates have had an immediate impact on fish sales, according to fishmongers from Hindiyah to Baghdad.
Ali Ibrahim, a vendor by the side of the highway outside Hindiyah, said he was closing his stall and returning to his family.

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