Mexico sees massive fish die-off at lake

CAJITITLAN, Mexico — A fisherman collects dead


MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) — Mexican authorities say a mass die-off of fish at a lake in western Mexico was not due to natural causes, but the causes are still being investigated and one research said that low water levels could have been responsible.

Over 53 metric tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state, the state environment department said late Sunday. Workers using shovels, a bulldozer, boats and wheel barrels removed the dead fish, which are being sent for testing. Workers wore masks to ward off the smell of rotting fish.

The small, finger-sized fish are apparently a type of chub. The cause of the die-off has not been determined; samples of the dead fish have been sent to laboratories for testing.

The state environment department said late Sunday it was not due to natural causes.

But Manuel Guzman Arroyo, director of the University of Guadalajara’s Fresh Water Institute, said the lake is very shallow, and that a strong wind or other causes could have stirred up sediment and deprived the fish of oxygen.

“The lake has problems because too much water is being drawn off, and its level is very low,” said Guzman Arroyo. The lake is surrounded by up-scale housing developments and its waters are used for irrigation and recreation, but he said pollution probably wasn’t a big problem.

It was the fourth time this year there has been a die-off at the lake, which sits between Guadalajara and Lake Chapala.


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