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City investigating fish deaths in Milnerton Lagoon 19 March 2013
The City of Cape Town and other government departments are currently investigating the cause of a large number of fish deaths in the Milnerton Lagoon.
Since Friday 15 March 2013, a significant number of dead adult mullets (commonly known as harders) have washed up along the shoreline of Milnerton Lagoon between the Woodbridge Island and the estuary mouth.
The exact cause is being investigated but may be difficult to determine. It is suspected, however, that the fish deaths can be attributed to high nutrient levels, high water temperatures and low oxygen levels. The high nutrients could be a result of a combination of factors such as the very high temperatures of last week and the re-dissolving of nutrients from the sediments (the slow-release of nutrients from the sediment base into the water column). Summer low water levels could have also added to the low available oxygen.
At this stage there is no evidence of any toxic spill. Samples of fish tissue are being analysed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Results will be made public as soon as they have been finalised.
Members of the public are advised that they must not collect or use the dead fish. In addition, recreational users of the vlei and local residents are urged to avoid swimming and other water-based recreational activities such as canoeing downstream of the Otto du Plessis Drive bridge as a precaution.
To date over 10 tons fish have been removed and taken to the Visserhok landfill site, and there is still just less than five tons of fish to be removed.
City of Cape Town Media Release - 19 March 2013
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