Tamil Nadu

Fishkill along seashore sparks panic

A team of scientists from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute collecting samples of dead fish from a seashore in Ramanathapuram on Thursday.

A team of scientists from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute collecting samples of dead fish from a seashore in Ramanathapuram on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: L. Balachandran

Scientists blame Noctiluca marine microalgae for the incident

Panic gripped the fishing community in Ramanathapuram as the water along a 10-km stretch of the shoreline between Kunthukal in Pamban and Vedalai in the Gulf of Mannar turned green and witnessed mass fish deaths on Thursday.

As fishermen grew anxious, a team of scientists from the Mandapam Regional Centre of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), led by Scientist in-charge R. Jayakumar, conducted tests and concluded that the sudden blooming of ‘Noctiluca marine microalgae’ was to blame for the incident.

The good organic conditions in the seawater and the high temperatures in the region over the last three days had provided a conducive environment for the ‘green algae’ to breed and release spores, Mr. Jayakumar said.

“The breeding had been taking place over the last two days and the blooming happened on Thursday, resulting in the mass fish deaths,” he told The Hindu.

Around 3,000 fish would have died, he said, adding that they had suffered ‘gill choking’ and had died of oxygen depletion and breathlessness. The tests proved that the dead fish contained no bio-toxins, he noted. Mostly juvenile and near-shore fish, which could not migrate to the deep sea, fell victim to the algae. “Fishermen need not panic as the algae will dissipate in one or two days, once there is a fall in temperature, a good downpour and the currents grow stronger,” Mr. Jayakumar said.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 5:00:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/fishkill-along-seashore-sparks-panic/article29403620.ece

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