Over 30 tonnes of dead fish are kicking up a stink in southern China. Locals and social media onlookers are joined in curiosity and confusion after a lake was found filled with dead fish last week.
Environment Officials have sent a clean-up team to the site in Hongcheng Lake, Haikou City, who say they’ve already cleared up 31 tonnes (35 tons) of fish and expect there could be a further 13 tonnes (15 tons). Authorities are also keeping watch to prevent the fish from being stolen and sold to consumers and nearby markets, People’s Daily Online reports.
Experts have spoken out about the possible cause of the strange goings-on. However, many local people aren't convinced.
The Haikou City Board of Marine and Fisheries have said the large number of dead fish is due to a drop in saline (salt) levels, online Chinese news site Yibada reports. The fish are thought to belong to the herring family, a saltwater species of fish that understandably does not fare well in freshwater lakes. Having adapted to a high concentration of salt, their cells do not need as much water. When introduced to fresh water, water quickly rushes into their body, which can burst their blood vessels and subsequently kill them.
According to Global News, the fish ended up in Hongcheng Lake because they were pushed up the Nandu River with the ocean's tide. This river is often used to replenish the lake’s water levels, so it’s been speculated that the lake’s pumping system deposited them into the freshwater lake by accident.
But despite what the authorities are saying, many local people are blaming pollution for the massive kill-off. Although there is no evidence yet to suggest this a similar story, there have been previous examples of fish dying in China due to water pollution. For example, last year, the shores near Tianjin port were lined with dead fish, after huge explosions near a chemical storage warehouse contaminated the surrounding area with dangerous levels of sodium cyanide.