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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Thousands of fish perish at Pennsylvania hatchery

After days of study researchers remain uncertain as to the cause of the mass die-off.

Approximately 10,000 trout have mysteriously died at a Newville, PA. fish hatchery. While officials are confident that some form of 'contamination' has occurred, speculating that the die-off was caused by low oxygen levels in the water supply, they have yet to determine what the contaminant was, or why said-levels dropped so precipitously.

Despite the hesitancy on the part of the Department of Environmental Protection to lay blame, the owner of the hatchery is quick to point the finger at farmers in the region, saying the manure used to fertilize their crops is running off into the spring water, due to the melt-off of snow. While researchers are not ruling out that possibility, they are remaining cautious, waiting until all possible tests can be conducted before coming to a conclusion.

There has been a spate of unexplained fish die-offs in recent years, with the Lake Owasso incident from last November being a prominent example; the reason for that event is still undetermined, nearly four months later. Such events happening in hatcheries are rare, however, and could be a threat to the food chain if left unexplained; according to a 2009 report, fish farms provide 50% of all fish consumed across the planet (despite environmental concerns over the practice), thus any threat to the industry must be taken seriously.

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