Thousands of Fish Die in Mexican Lake

In Lake Cajititlán, a lagoon which lies in Jalisco, Mexico, thousands of fish weighing altogether almost 50 tons have died suddenly, baffling observers.

The popoche chub fish were buried in a pit after their removal from the lake by fishermen, firefighters, town hall workers, and members of the state agricultural ministry.

The massive death of the popoche fish in the lake follows other incidents when some have died, although none of the prior incidents were of this magnitude. Officials from Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, roughly 25 minutes' drive south of Guadalajara, had said the previous incidents with the fish were caused by "a cyclical phenomenon caused by temperature variations and the reduction of oxygen.”

But after the latest incident, Jalisco’s environment secretary, Magdalena Ruiz Mejía, said the cause was more likely "poor management of the body of water,” adding that nearby municipal waste water treatment facilities might be responsible. Another possible cause is a tequila distillery close to the lake which has kept waste in containers that drain into channels that ultimately wind up in the lagoon.

Victor Hugo Ornelas, who was reporting for the newspaper La Verdad, said the cause may have been fertilizers that were used on nearby cornfields that subsequently washed into the lake from the effects of the rainy season. He said, "It is obvious that there are many sources of pollution around the lake. Fertilizer runoff in a particularly heavy rainy season could be the straw that is breaking the camel's back."


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