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Preventive measures needed against fish deaths

30 July 2015 [15:29] - TODAY.AZ

/By AzerNews/

By Aynur Karimova

Ecologists call on the Caspian Sea states to take preventive measures against the mass death of fish in the Sea, which was recently observed in Dagestan, in the Russian sector of the sea.

Numerous videos have surfaced on social networks showing the dead fish washed ashore, Russian media reported on July 28. The dead fish have been mostly comprised of younger bream and roach while dead mullet or sturgeon are observed sporadically. Other types of Caspian fauna (they are more than 120 species) have not been affected.

Telman Zeynalov, the Chairman of the Environmental Council under Azerbaijan's Ecology Ministry and Head of the National Center for Ecological Forecasting, told AzerNews that the culprit may be enterprises operating in Dagestan that release toxic emissions into the Caspian Sea.

The ecologist also warned that this problem should concern Azerbaijan as well.

"If fish in the Dagestan coast of the Caspian Sea die massively, it is possible that water from there would flow to our coasts, because water streams from Russia flow to the Azerbaijani coasts of the Caspian Sea. If those toxic emissions fall to the water streams, they will impact the fish in Azerbaijan.

Despite the fact that water has an ability of self-cleaning depending on the distance, Azerbaijan should control the issue and analyze the water there. The representatives of Azerbaijan's Ecology Ministry should urgently analyze the water of the Caspian Sea in the bordering areas of Azerbaijan with Dagestan."

Russian media outlets reported that people have put forth various explanations for the mass deaths: an unknown disease, military exercises, or contaminated water.

According to Russian ichthyologists, however, mass deaths of wildlife are a quite common occurrence. The experts of the Russian Federal Agency for Fishery say that the reason for the mass accumulation of dead fish is simple – the sea creatures are dying from the heat due to oxygen starvation. They also assured that the outflow of dead fish from the depths of the sea takes place every summer.

The Caspian Sea, which washes the coasts of Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran, is considered the largest closed lake on the planet, with an area of 371,000 square kilometers, brackish water, and features similar to those of a sea, since it has a maximum depth of 1,025 meters.

The sea, with its rich natural resources, is home to 80-85 percent of the world’s sturgeons. Some 90 percent of the popular black and red caviar sold all over the world comes from this region.

About 141 other fish species live in this natural water basin. The Caspian, however, has witnessed a sharp tenfold decrease in the number of sprats and sturgeons over the past years. To prevent this problem, the Caspian states banned any industrial or commercial sturgeon fishing in the sea in 2014.

The Caspian Sea is also struggling with other problems, such as pollution.

Some of the causes of the pollution include the development of hydrocarbon reserves in the sea and its surrounding areas, the high density of population and industry in the adjacent areas, runoff from intensive agricultural development in valleys, and its closed ecosystem.


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