Shocking images emerged of thousands of dead fish washed up along the shores of several bodies of water in Rhodope, a region in Western Thrace, over the weekend.
Veterinary officials from Eastern Macedonia and Thrace located the dead fish in three areas in Lake Ismarida in Rhodope, Lake Vistonida, located between Rhodope and Xanthi, and along the Kompsatos River, which begins in the Rhodope mountains and flows into Lake Vistonida.
Prussian carp, eels, flathead grey mullets, and blue crabs were identified among the dead aquatic life.
According to autopsies conducted on the creatures, as well as tests of the environment from Lake Ismarida, scientists concluded that the mass death was due to increased water temperatures and low oxygen levels in the lake.
No evidence of disease, parasites, or harmful bacteria was found among any of the samples gathered for analysis.
When water temperatures rise, the available oxygen decreases, causing asphyxiation in aquatic life. Scientists note that this particular instance is very troubling, as eels, usually adaptable to low-oxygen levels, were among the dead creatures.
Increased temperatures and low water levels led to a similar phenomenon in Greece’s Kompsatos River. Flow of brackish water from Lake Vistonida caused even more damage to the sensitive fresh-water creatures in the Kompsatos, increasing the numbers of dead fish in the river.
Officials have begun to collect the dead fish from the sites. The fish will be disposed of according to strict safety and hygienic measures. Authorities ensure the public that none of these dead fish have been placed on the Greek market for consumption.
Greece experienced extremely high temperatures last week nearing 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), which is very unusual for this late in the summer.