Lab results obtained from fish and water samples indicate––one day after thousands of fish were found dead at the estuary of Nahal Tzalmon into the Kinneret––the presence of Endosulfan, an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide that is being phased out globally and is banned in Israel.
Endosulfan became a highly controversial agrichemical due to its acute toxicity, the potential for bioaccumulation, and role as an endocrine disruptor. Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority suspects the poisoning was criminal and intentional.
Israel’s Water Authority has filed a criminal complaint with the police in an effort to catch and prosecute those responsible.
A joint situation assessment that included the Mekorot company and the Health Ministry ruled out the possibility of damage to the drinking water supply. The Agriculture Ministry issued a statement saying: “You can continue to consume fish, but you must be careful and buy in regulated places, approved by the Ministries of Health and Agriculture.”
On Tuesday, inspectors of the Water Authority, Agriculture Ministry, and the Marine Unit of the Nature and Parks Authority arrived in the area where Nahalo Tzalmon falls into the Kinneret following a report issued by the Kinneret Research Laboratory about unusual levels of fish mortality. The inspectors toured the area and found numerous dead fish, which prompted water authority officials to order the sampling of the fish and water there to diagnose the cause of death.
*עדכון דוברות רט”ג*
חשד להרעלה בשפך נחל צלמון לכנרת.
בעקבות דיווח שהתקבל הגיעו פקחי היחידה הימית של רשות הטבע והגנים למקום.
במקום ניצפו דגים מתים ונלקחו דגימות לבדיקה.
רטג פותחת בחקירת המקרה בשיתוף עם משרד החקלאות וגופים הנוספים.
בשעות אלו מתבצעת הוצאה של הדגים המתים מהמים. pic.twitter.com/IXidnJfD8M
— ?or keren (@Wq0oQJmUSfZunt5) May 16, 2023
The municipal veterinarian of Tveria Dr. Florina Peleg spoke with all the fish vendors throughout the city and explained the serious danger inherent in selling fish from the Kinneret at this juncture. She insisted that no fish from the Kinneret should be displayed for sale before the vendors receive clarification of the suspected poisoning.
Nahal Tzalmon drains the southeastern slopes of the Meron mountain range. The stream flows south through the Shagur Ridge, drains into the Tzalmon Reservoir east of the Yotvat Ridge, forms an eastbound “knee,” and flows into the Kinneret near Kibbutz Ginosar.
On December 27, 2022, Israel began pumping desalinated Mediterranean Sea water into Nahal Tzalmon, a project of the Mekorot company. This water eventually reaches the Kinneret to help to maintain its level in years of drought.