© AN photo
MYSTERY: The dead fish along the coast of Qatif.
Thousands of dead fish have appeared along the coast of Qatif amid hide tides, prompting authorities to launch an investigation into the bizarre incident.

"The Presidency of Metrology and Environment (PME) and the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAF) were immediately tasked with investigating the first-of-its-kind situation," said Al-Arqoubi.

"Qatif's municipality sent a team of specialists to find out why the fish had died. The team took samples from the dead fish and the water for examination. Preliminary results from the fish autopsy have not indicated contamination," he added.

"The municipal team suggested that they died in shallow waters near the coast, especially since only small fish had been found lifeless along the coast, meaning that they had come for food, but had gotten stuck in the low tides and were unable to swim back. Samples confirmed that the fish lacked oxygen, supporting this theory," he explained.

Nabil Al-Fatya, fish resource director at the Agriculture Ministry, said: "We are awaiting the results of these tests, which will take 48 hours."

Fish market vendors, meanwhile, fear that illegal laborers will attempt to collect dead fish and sell them in the market or on the streets.

The vendors, however, have stressed that the market will not suffer a fish supply shortage and the Eastern Province municipality has warned vendors from putting peoples' health at risk by selling fish that may not be fit for consumption, while confirming that inspectors are on full alert for violations.