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Louisiana seeks cause of massive fish kill

Hundreds of thousands of dead fish have been discovered floating in a part of south Louisiana that was heavily affected by the BP oil spill. But a top state official said he has seen no proof that the spill was the cause.

The dead fish-- pogies, redfish, drum, crabs, shrimp, and freshwater eel--were found floating in Bayou Chaland on Friday, according to the Plaquemine Parish government. The fish are so dense that they cover the surface of the narrow bayou, a solid mass of white and gray bodies.

Parish President Billy Nungesser (R ) said in a statement that he had asked the state and federal governments to test the waters in the area.

"We can't continue to see these fish kills. We need some additional tests to find out why these fish are dying in large numbers. If it is low oxygen, we need to identify the cause," Nungesser said in a statement released by the parish.

But in an interview Thursday, Louisiana Departement of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham said the fish could have been killed by a drop in dissolved oxygen levels--caused either by die-offs of microorganisms, or a sudden upwelling of low-oxygen water from the deep sea.

Barham said similar things have happened in years past, long before the oil spill. In some areas, low-oxygen pockets have caused so-called "jubilees" where blue crabs haul themselves suddenly out of suffocating water.

"It is not an unexpected event," Barham said. He said testing of the fish and the water would continue, but at this point, "our biologists at this point do not believe that it is clear that this an oil-related event."

Hundreds of thousands of dead fish float in an area of south Louisiana heavily affected by the BP oil spill (Plaquemines Parish government)


David A. Fahrenthold

 |  September 16, 2010; 2:08 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Are you kidding? They are "looking for the cause?" Ha ha ha ha ha

Posted by: johng1 | September 16, 2010 3:52 PM
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Top state officals don't seem to understand the principle of cause and effect. Isn't denial a wonderful thing?

Posted by: jckdoors | September 16, 2010 3:43 PM
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Since Mr. Barham sounds so sure that oil is not the cause of the fish kill, he should have a little fish fry.
Same with the "top state officials"
Put your mouth where your mouth is!!!

Posted by: strictly_liberal | September 16, 2010 3:35 PM
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