Thousands of Dead Fish Washing Ashore, and No One Knows Why


Huge amounts of dead fish are washing up all over the world. Hundreds to thousands have been found on shores on Texas’ Gulf Coast, in River Avon in Warwickshire and along Salford Quays in the United Kingdom, and in a park in Boise, Idaho, all within the span of a week. 

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Experts can’t quite agree on why dead fish are washing up on shores around the world. For instance, in the U.K., some experts were blaming storms, while in Texas, some experts were blaming the lack of storms.

Idaho Fish and Game said they could not determine the reason behind the dead fish in the state’s Terry Day Pond

In Warwickshire, U.K., the Environment Agency theorized that the fish may have died from recent hot weather that may have caused a lethal lack of oxygen, or they may also have died because of “recent storms.” One official said he had never seen such high volumes of dead fish in the river.

In Salford Quays, U.K., experts are also debating. The Manchester Ship Canal Company called it a “natural occurrence.” The Environment Agency says officers will attempt to rule out other causes, including pollution, in further investigations. 

While there may be multiple reasons dead fish are washing up in different places, many experts point to a depletion of oxygen due to higher-than-normal water temperatures—one of the known side effects of climate change. Scientists have said that fish have begun to search for cooler waters as a result. Eutrophication, or an overabundance of nutrients in the water due to runoff from land, can also lead to low oxygen content in the water, which can suffocate marine life.

For now, the dead fish remain a mystery. Katie St. Clair, sea life facility manager at Texas A&M University, Galveston, says there is a silver lining. “The flipside is that with this die-off of fish, there is a huge nutrient pulse into our environment. It’s kind of a circle of life.”

What do you think is causing all of these fish to die? Answer in a comment below.

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