dead dolphin Ghana

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Between 80 and 100 dolphins and different types of fish have washed up dead on Ghana’s coast, and no one knows why.

The dolphins washed up on the coast of Axim beach, of Ghana’s capital Accra, on Sunday and Monday. Different species of dead fish also washed up about Osu Castle Beach in Accra, about 170 miles away, Reuters reported.

Fish, including rays and eels, were still washing up on the shore on Tuesday, the local nonprofit OR Foundation told The Guardian.

In the shores of Ghana where I am currently collecting my PhD field data, locals waked up on Easter Sunday to tragic events. Thousand of dead pelagic fishes species washed ashore at Osu. In Axim, at the western region about 20 dolphins were also seen dead on the coast. pic.twitter.com/vNWePqQV1s

— Raymond Ayilu (@RayAyilu) April 5, 2021

It is not yet clear what caused the death of these animals. Authorities are investigating the incident, Reuters reported.

Local authorities said they didn’t find any wounds on their first look at the animals, Modern Ghana reported.

Peter Zedah, the Head of Fish Health for Ghana Fisheries Commission, told local media on Wednesday environmental and stress factors had likely caused the deaths, The Guardian reported.

Authorities suspect some of the dolphins had been picked up by local residents, supposedly for domestic or commercial use, AfricaNews reported.

The local nonprofit Wildseas said locals intend to use the dolphin meat as shark bait, Reuters reported. 

Rhoda Ewurabena Appiah, a spokeswoman for the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority, urged people to inspect the fish they have purchased on local markets in the past few days and to not eat it just in case, AfricaNews reported. 

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Ghana’s minister of fisheries and aquaculture, Mavis Koomson, also asked fishers in Accra “to cooperate with the Fisheries Commission and FDA [Ghana Food And Drugs Authority] as they investigate the incidents.”

This is not the first time dead dolphins have washed up on and around the African continent.

In February, 111 dead dolphins were found dead off the coast of Mozambique, AfricaNews reported. A preliminary investigation put the blame on poor weather due to a cyclone in the area.

And last year, 52 dolphins washed up on the coast of Mauritius. An investigation found that this was due to a phenomenon called “barotrauma,” an intense change in pressure that could be caused by earthquakes, explosives, and military sonar, the BBC reported. 

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