Pond Fish could be Poisonous; Public requested to refrain from consuming pond fish

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GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) is advising the public not to consume any fish from the country’s ponds.

The Nature Foundation over the weekend issued an alert concerning tilapia fish die off in the Great Salt Pond.  In the meantime, the aforementioned Foundation and the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) have been working to ease the serious drought situation that has been impacting the water levels in the ponds.

Over the weekend, based on reports received, individuals were seen catching fish from the Salt Pond for possible human consumption.

According to the Collective Prevention Service (CPS), a department from Ministry VSA, the Salt Pond fish could be poisonous, and residents/visitors should refrain from eating fish from the Salt Pond or Fresh Water Pond.

Fish poisoning symptoms can occur anywhere from two to 12 hours after eating fish. Symptoms include: abdominal cramps, diarrhea (severe and watery), nausea and vomiting.

Residents and other persons are strongly advised to leave the fish alone, do not take them home to cook or to be sold to others as the fish are not fit for human consumption.

The Nature Foundation during its recent drought surveys of the Great Salt Pond, took various soil samples in order to test for a wide spectrum of heavy metals and the results returned were positive for nickel, zinc, arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, chromium and other heavy metals.

The main threats to human health comes from some of the aforementioned heavy metals that can cause cancer and may also result in organ poisoning to those exposed to the heavy metal.

CPS is once again advising individuals not to consume or sell any fish from the Great Salt Pond or the Fresh Water Pond.