A Tamaulipas biologist is calling on the state and federal governments to study the effects of pollution on fish in the Pánuco river, particularly in the Pueblo Viejo lagoon in Veracruz.
“We need to do daily monitoring at the entrance to the Pueblo Viejo lagoon,” said Margarita Vergara de los Ríos, former director of the Regional Center for Fishing Studies (CRIP) for southern Tamaulipas.
Vergara also said that the dumping of wastewater into the Pánuco river should stop, noting a recent mass death of thousands of catfish in a Tampico canal connected to the Pánuco. Tampico officials said the die-off was probably caused by a lack of oxygen or a change in the water’s salinity, but Vergara thinks it could have been caused by pollution.
“I haven’t been able to take samples, but I would say that, if this had happened in a period when there was more serious runoff, we could attribute it to salinity changes or a lack of oxygen in the water,” she said. “However, it’s very possible that it was caused by a spill into the Pánuco river, upstream or downstream, or the illegal dumping that happens around the Carpintero lagoon, because a few weeks ago there were also a lot of fish deaths upstream in the Pánuco.”
Vergara added that if the pollution problem is not addressed, it could damage area fisheries like Pueblo Viejo.
“It’s very important that agencies like the National Water Commission, the Health Secretariat and the CRIP monitor the Pánuco near the entrance to the Pueblo Viejo lagoon in Veracruz in order to prevent harm to people who live from fishing there,” she said.
Pueblo Viejo oyster fishermen who spoke with the newspaper Milenio said that Tamaulipas and Veracruz authorities have gone to the lagoon to take water samples, but that they have not revealed the results. Fishermen fear that the government will impose a ban on fishing in the lagoon because of the pollution.
According to environmental activist Roque Montiel Lozano, at least 600 cubic meters of wastewater are dumped into the Pánuco every second.
Source: Milenio (sp)