Monday, May 30, 2011

Why did millions of fish drop dead in a lake near Philippines volcano? - 30th May 2011

Wildlife experts have been baffled by the sudden death of more than 800 tons of fish which have rotted on farms in a lake near Taal volcano south of Manila.

Residents were stunned when the milkfish, a widespread local dish, began dying and floating of the surface late last week.

Officials have banned the sale of the rotting fish, which are being buried by the truckload in Talisay and four other towns in Batangas province.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources official Rose del Mundo said today that the number of dying fish has now eased off slightly.

The deaths are believed to be unrelated to recent signs of restiveness in Taal volcano, which is surrounded by the lake where many villagers have grown milkfish and tilapia - staple food for many Filipinos.

The volcano and lake are a popular tourist draw.

Experts believe that a sudden drop in temperature may have been responsible for the millions of fish deaths.

Talisay agricultural officer Zenaida Mendoza said an initial investigation showed the deaths may have been caused by the temperature change as the rainy season set in last week after a scorching summer, which also depleted the lake's oxygen levels.

Schools of fish were seen swimming in circles before they floated dead to the surface in huge numbers.

The deaths have occurred in the past at summer's end but in much smaller numbers, Mendoza said.

Some Taal lake areas turned white due to the massive numbers of dead milk-colored fish. Read More