Thousands of fish killed in Lake Batur’s most devastating sulfur poisoning in years

File photo of Lake Batur. Photo: Coconuts Bali
File photo of Lake Batur. Photo: Coconuts Bali

At least 18,000 tilapia have died in the last few days due to sulfur poisoning in Lake Batur, with a local official claiming this as the worst case of poisoning that has occurred in recent years. 

“About 18,000 of our tilapia fish died, and that does not include the fish owned by other farmers. These fish were mature and ready for sale, too,” Jero Agus Jambe, who heads the group of tilapia farmers in Buahan Village of Lake Batur, said yesterday.

Agus said most of the fish died because of sulfur poisoning, due to a naturally-occurring upwelling from the bottom of the volcanic crater lake that occurred recently. Most fish farmers are well-aware of the risks of the occasional sulfur poisoning on the lake, with at least 13 tons of fish dying in a similar manner in March 2021.

Agus claims that he alone suffered about IDR84 million (US$5,780) in losses from this incident. 

Wayan Sarma, who heads the Farming, Food Security and Fisheries Agency in Bangli regency, has confirmed the incident, claiming that this is the worst sulfur poisoning in recent years. 

So far, officials have managed to lift about 17 tons of dead fish from the lake. Wayan said it has affected farmers from Kedisan Village to Abang Batu Dinding village in Kintamani district.

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