Deformed Fish Spark Call for Federal Investigation


EDMONTON — Deformed fish recently found in Lake Athabasca have prompted community leaders and scientists to demand a federal investigation.

The abnormal fish, caught in waters downstream from the oilsands, have deformities ranging from discoloration to tumours and missing body parts. The findings have led Aboriginal leaders and scientists to ask the federal government to launch a study to determine what may be happening to the water and its aquatic inhabitants after years of industry expansion, the CP reports.

“A lot of people are afraid to eat fish from the lake,” Robert Grandjambe, from nearby Fort Chipewyan told the Canadian Press. “It’s time we had a proper monitoring study done.”

Last week, the deformed fish were on display at the University of Alberta. “I think most of us would agree, they’sre not things you’sd like to see on your plate when you go to a restaurant,” David Schindler, an aquatics ecologist, told Postmedia News.

Fishermen claim deformed fish have been turning up more frequently in the last few decades, and, according to CP, some studies suggest a link between the oilsands and contaminants. Environment Canada recorded high levels of deformities in fish embryos exposed to oilsands in 2007, and, in 2008, Schindler conducted two studies showing that hydrocarbons and other toxins are on the rise, the CP reports.


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