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Manual for fish kill investigations in South Africa
Expanded Title:Fish kills have become common phenomena that occur world-wide and may be the result of significant environmental changes, disease incidents or pollution events. Mass fish kill events evoke an emotional response in many communities. Such events are often interpreted as a measure of the health of the aquatic resource within which such a kill is observed, and may be interpreted as a potential early warning of an impending environmental problem. Over the past number of years, fish kills in South Africa have become a cause for concern because of the increased rate of occurrence. Many fish kills are un-reported or incorrectly investigated due to a lack of knowledge and/or correct protocol for conducting fish kill investigations. The identification of the cause, and ultimately the source, of a fish kill can be difficult. If not done correctly, may lead to an incorrect assessment. There are legal and economic ramifications, depending on the cause of the fish kill, and particularly if the cause is identified to be the result of human or corporate actions. As a result, the investigator must have a clear understanding of the nature of fish kills, and the protocol required to be followed. It is important to interpret the cause correctly and to understand the rules of evidence, the custody of samples and data, as well as record keeping which might affect the admissibility of evidence in a litigation matter. A comprehensive field manual for the investigation of fish kills does exist in the United States of America. However, while this field manual can be used as a basis for conducting fish kill investigations, much of the content is outdated and incorrect for application in the South African context. From a South African perspective, the Department of Water & Sanitation did initiate a concise field guide to fish kill investigations for the country, but the document was never finalized, nor did it provide definitive guidance on how to conduct and interpret a fish kill incident. The purpose of this study therefore seeks to adapt and refine internationally-applied protocols and local guidelines for fish kill investigations specifically for the South African context, in order to promote a consistent national approach in response to such incidents. The study investigated a range of potential drivers of fish kill, from water chemistry to viral infections, bacteria, parasites, as well as natural causes. Each driver was detailed, including how to take care of samples, should they end up in a court of law. In doing so, the study promotes a consistent national approach and recommends the minimum requirements for each stage of such investigations. Standardised templates are provided for the collection of the necessary information during field investigations.
Date Published:01/07/2014
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Ecosystem - Biodiversity protection
Document Keywords:Guidelines, Water Quality
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Technical
WRC Report No:TT 589/14
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0531-8
Authors:Grant B; Huchzermeyer D; Hohls B
Project No:K8/1003
Document Size:4 489 KB
Attachments:Appendix A.pdf
Appendix B.pdf
Appendix C.pdf
Appendix D.pdf
Appendix E.pdf
Appendix F.pdf
Appendix G.pdf
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