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Dead fish in the Oder: Specialist shares new discovery – type of algae responsible for fish deaths?


Dead fish in the Oder: Specialist shares new discovery – type of algae responsible for fish deaths? Created: 08/18/2022, 05:00 By: Anna Lorenz Why are thousands of dead fish floating in the Oder? Poland and Germany are looking for the cause. A task force of experts is working at full speed. The news ticker. Environmental disaster in the Oder: Toxic species of algae responsible for fish deaths?

Dead fish in the Oder: Specialist shares new discovery – type of algae responsible for fish deaths?

Created: 08/18/2022, 05:00

By: Anna Lorenz

Why are thousands of dead fish floating in the Oder?

Poland and Germany are looking for the cause.

A task force of experts is working at full speed.

The news ticker.

  • Environmental disaster

    in the Oder: Toxic species of algae responsible for fish deaths?

  • Public prosecutor

    's office investigates

    fish deaths

    in Oder: Several companies targeted - 228 witnesses interrogated

  • Dead fish

    in the


    : how dangerous is the water?

    Well suspicious symptoms detected in dogs

  • This

    news ticker

    is updated regularly

Update from August 17, 6:36 p.m.:

According to estimates by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, around 36 tons of dead fish have been found in Germany in connection with the environmental disaster in the Oder.

This was announced by the Ministry of Green politician Steffi Lemke on Wednesday, citing information from helpers and districts in Brandenburg.

Previously, there had been no official information on the size of the dead fish discovered so far on the German side.

In Poland, the fire brigade had stated that they had recovered almost a hundred tons of dead fish from the Oder and a smaller river.

As the ministry went on to explain, the cause of the fish deaths in Poland and Germany is still unclear.

A combination of several factors cannot be ruled out.

“The investigations and evaluation of water samples and fish are still ongoing.

The Brandenburg State Environment Agency is supported by the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Institute for Hydrology," said a spokeswoman for the



Further test results are expected in the coming days.

The investigations are technically very demanding because "investigations have to be carried out in all conceivable directions".

The assumption that a toxic algal bloom - i.e. a massive increase in algae in a body of water - could be responsible for the fish kill is currently being investigated.

However, according to the spokeswoman, that would not explain the high salt content that was detected in the Oder.

Or disaster: Leisure captains from Saxony have to stop shortly before returning home

Update from August 17, 5:38 p.m .:

Two leisure captains from Saxony have also felt the consequences of the environmental disaster in the Oder.

The two pensioners Peter Schneider and Matthias Raupner have been stuck on the Oder-Spree Canal for almost a week.

Your boats are tied up at the Kersdorfer lock.

Like other sluice gates, this is closed so that no toxic substances can get from the Oder into the Spree after the mass death of fish, as the pensioners reported on Wednesday (August 17).

The Kersdorfer lock on the Oder-Spree Canal was closed to prevent water pollution from spreading.

© Patrick Pleul/dpa

After three weeks and a tour of around 800 kilometers across the Oderhaff, the two friends were on their way back in their boats – and only 35 kilometers from their destination.

In Kersdorf it didn't go any further.

"At first we didn't even know what it was about," reported Schneider.

Both hobby skippers showed understanding for the preventive measures taken by the authorities.

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Environmental disaster in the Oder: Toxic species of algae responsible for fish deaths?

Update from August 17, 4:04 p.m .:

A toxic species of algae is suspected of being responsible for the mass death of fish in the Oder.

The microalgae, which developed rapidly in the river, has now been identified.

It is Prymnesium parvum, as the water ecologist Christian Wolter told the

German Press Agency

on Wednesday (August 17).

"The species is known for the fact that fish die off occasionally," says the researcher at the Berlin Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries.

However, whether the plant produced enough toxins in the present case to be responsible for the death of thousands of fish must first be investigated, the expert emphasized.

He spoke of a massive algal bloom with 200 micrograms per liter and more than 100,000 cells per milliliter of water.

According to Wolter, the alga, which is basically not dangerous for humans, is usually found in brackish water.

This typically occurs at estuaries where fresh and salt water mix.

Is the microalgae responsible for the death of the river dwellers?

Not only fish, but also snails, beavers and other animals native to the Oder have died in their thousands.

(Archive image, August 15, 2022) © IMAGO / Eastnews

However, the plant can also thrive in a salty environment, but needs high pH values.

"Otherwise, as a brackish water species, it would not form a mass development in the Oder," says Wolter.

For the expert there is a clear connection between the introduction of salt and the development of algae.

He personally does not believe in an accident, said Wolter.

Initially, several media reported about the algae, including RBB and


The public prosecutor's office is investigating fish deaths in Oder: Several companies are targeted - 228 witnesses are being questioned

Update from August 17, 3:30 p.m .:

The investigation into the cause of the fish death in the Oder is in full swing.

The Polish public prosecutor's office has meanwhile interrogated 228 witnesses and carried out a total of twelve on-site visits to different sections of the river, according to Deputy Attorney General Krzysztof Sierak on Wednesday (17 August).

"From previous activities," says Sierak, "it is not clear what caused the massive fish kill."

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Monday (August 15) that, according to his information, a "huge [...] quantity" of chemical waste had been discharged into the Oder.

Companies whose wastewater is fed into the river are therefore particularly targeted by the investigators.

As the information

service KK24 reports

, the chemical company Grupa Azoty has already issued a statement that it has nothing to do with the fish kill.

Water samples had confirmed that no substances used by the company were present in increased quantities.

As the Polish newspaper


reports, water samples from the toilet paper producer Jack-Pol in Oława are currently being examined.

The company, which advertises 100 percent recycled, biodegradable and ecological material, had already been accused by the "Everything for Olawa" association in March 2022 of illegally disposing of wastewater into the Oder.

Environmental disaster in the Oder: rumblings on the political stage in Poland - "The opposition is to blame"

Update from August 17, 2:50 p.m .:

The environmental catastrophe causes a lot of politics in Poland.

Not only neighboring Germany, but also the citizens of the Oder area themselves are upset about the handling of the massive fish kill.

The opposition, conservationists and residents accuse the national-conservative PiS government of passivity and arrogance of power and are demanding personal consequences.

Because of the poor crisis management in dealing with the natural disaster, the Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki, the Ministry of the Environment and the head of the regional administration of Lower Silesia O Bremski have come under criticism.

The latter had continued his three-week vacation despite the Oder disaster.

However, those affected deny any accusation.

Morawiecki said that the failure of the information chain to the German authorities was the fault of the opposition.

Donald Tusk, head of the liberal-conservative Citizens' Platform, had spread "fake news" and, with reference to information from Germany, claimed that mercury was the cause of the fish kills.

"They really thrived and kept their fingers crossed for the quicksilver," Morawiecki scoffed at Tusk and his followers.

The constitutional judge Krystyna Pawlowicz asked on Saturday (13 August) via Twitter: "Will the possibility that the Oder was poisoned by the German side be considered?"

Toxic or water?

District administrator with a questionable assessment for bathers

Update from August 17, 1:05 p.m .:

Despite the urgent warning to avoid the water of the Oder, the district administrator of the Vorpommern-Greifswald district, Michael Sack, now said that “[a]n the Baltic Sea beaches of the sunny island of Usedom [... ] continued best bathing conditions” prevailed.

To date, the region has not been affected by the events.

The Oder flows into the Stettiner Haff, which is connected to the Baltic Sea off Usedom.

The beach on the Szczecin Lagoon was well attended despite warnings from the authorities on Tuesday (August 16).

After the massive death of fish in the Oder, the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania generally advises against contact with the water.

© picture alliance/dpa |

Jens Buttner

The Schwerin state government, on the other hand, advises against bathing because, despite the lack of concrete information, damage to health cannot be ruled out.

Across borders, experts strongly recommend avoiding any contact with water that may originate from the Oder;

fishing, water sports and swimming should be avoided.

Health consequences have already been reported for pets (see initial report).

Dead fish in the Oder: how dangerous is the water?

Well suspicious symptoms detected in dogs

First report from August 17, 11:42 a.m.:

Szczecin – The death of fish in the Oder is still unclear.

Thousands of carcasses had been found in the water in this country since Tuesday (August 9th).

In Poland, a striking number of dead fish had already been discovered in the border river about two weeks earlier.

In order to improve the lack of crisis communication between the two countries, a task force has now been set up to determine the cause of the environmental disaster.

Furthermore, the question arises: How dangerous is the water of the river?

Fish deaths in the Oder: water carries thousands of carcasses – how dangerous is the river really?

An environmental catastrophe is the death of thousands of animals in the Oder.

Also on the Polish side of the border river, according to

focus online

, the effects of the fish kill are already great.

The current temperatures in particular are tempting to cool down in the river - with fatal consequences.

The newspaper reports about a dog that had to struggle with severe signs of illness after bathing in the Oder.

The animal is now still "weak and exhausted, but at least the vomiting and diarrhea have improved and the hunger is gradually coming back".

German authorities also warn against contact with the probably toxic river water.

Dead fish, mussels and snails have collected on the surface of the water at a dam laid by the fire brigade in the German-Polish border river Westoder, near the branch from the main river Oder.

© picture alliance/dpa |

Patrick Pleul

Fish kill in the Oder: Polish economy hit hard – “People are afraid”

As the online portal


reports, restaurants are also affected by the Oder disaster.

Fish dishes would be avoided, fish factories would be left with their products.

However, the fish usually do not come from the Oder.

"But unfortunately people are scared," fishmonger Svetlana Szalwa in Trzebież explained to the portal about the collapse in demand.

Tourists no longer want to do leisure activities in the questionable waters either.

According to focus online

, a boat rental company pointed

out that “almost no customers” were left.

Politicians are said to have even predicted that the summer season with the fish kill would come to an unexpectedly early end.

(askl with dpa)

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-08-18

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