Mele villagers in Vanuatu have found dead prawns floating along a river relied on by more than 5,000 people, prompting warnings to cease use of the water.
Chief Simeon Poilapa told the Daily Post that the sudden presence of the dead prawns could be an indication that the water was contaminated with a chemical substance.
He said they suspected that some irresponsible people had poisoned the upper reaches of the river and a "full investigation will be conducted to find out those who are responsible".
Chief Poilapa said the impacts of climate change could not be blamed for the occurrence.
Locals use the river for washing, bathing and cooking purposes, but the chief has asked them to stop using it until the investigation is complete.