Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – More than 100 tons of carp and tilapia in Lake Toba, Samosir regency, North Sumatra were found dead on Thursday, possibly due to extreme weather, local officials have said.
Samosir Agriculture and Fisheries Agency head Viktor Sitinjak said the losses had set the local administration back at least Rp 2 billion (US$135,663).
All of the fish were contained in 39 floating cages owned by locals, according to Viktor.
Strong winds that recently occurred in the region presumably created a vortex at the bottom of the lake, asphyxiating and killing many fish within the floating cages, he said.
"The problem is that the water surrounding the floating cages is shallow, so it is prone to being muddied by strong winds, depriving the fish in the cages of oxygen," Viktor told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
He went on to say that the agency was currently preparing to bury the carcasses in Huta Tinggi village, Panguruan district so as to prevent any diseases from contaminating Lake Toba and the surrounding areas.
Thursday's discovery was not the first instance of such a phenomenon, Viktor said. In 2019, a large number of fish were also found dead in a portion of Lake Toba that lies between Dairi regency and Samosir regency.
Niolando Naibaho, an owner of one of the floating cages, said he was frustrated that 12 tons of his fish died in the middle of the farming season.
"My losses amount to Rp 80 million," Niolando told the Post, adding that he expected the administration to provide aid to residents impacted by the phenomenon as it deprived most of them of the capital to continue farming. (rfa)