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Fish Freeze to Death in Greece

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Credit: Greek Reporter

Fish froze to death in Greece after the major snowstorm hit Greece earlier this week.

Hundreds of thousands of farmed fish froze to death in the Richo Lagoon of Drepano Lake in northern Greece.

The fish, which were largely seabream and white seabream, could not tolerate the frigid temperatures recorded across the country in the wake of the snowstorm “Elpis,” which paralyzed much of Greece.

On Tuesday, the dead fish began to float up to the surface of the lagoon and wash up on shore after freezing to death during the storm, which hit the country the day before.

During Elpis, water in the lagoon reached a frigid 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

As the entire country faced low temperatures and heavy snowfall, the sea froze over in Greece in a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon on Tuesday in the village of Sagiada in Thesprotia, Epirus. This region is not far from the Drepano Lake.

Sea ice, usually found in more northern and polar oceans, appeared in Greece as the country was hit with sub-zero temperatures.

Hundreds of thousands of fish froze to death in Greece

Ioannis Ouzounoglou, who works at the fish farm, which is owned by the state, said to Reuters: “The destruction is huge, it is estimated there are around 50 tons of dead fish…In all the last years that I have been recording and measuring temperatures in the area, I never expected that we would have such low temperatures in the minuses.”

Konstantinos Perdikaris, a scientist from the Department of Fisheries, stated to Reuters that the design of the fish farm, which is made up of a large enclosure in the lagoon, prevented the fish from swimming out to warmer waters in the lake.

Usually, when such cold weather and snow is expected, workers at the fish farm free the seabream into the lake, but Ouzounoglou stated to Reuters that they did not have time, as the bad weather came about quickly.

The specific species of fish, the seabream, is especially sensitive to changes in temperature and especially to the cold. Perdikaris argues that the fish died of “thermal shock.”

Seabream largely cannot survive in temperatures under four degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit). Usually, the temperature of the lagoon during the winter ranges from seven to eight degrees Celsius (44 to 46 Fahrenheit).

There were various species of fish in the fish farm, which contained about 600,000 fish, that were not harmed.

Elpis caused around 20 cm (7.87 inches) of snow to fall in Athens when it hit the city on Monday. The heavy snow, which is quite uncommon for the city, coupled with low temperatures and heavy winds, caused a great many disturbances throughout Athens.

Thousands of motorists were stuck on the Attiki Odos, the major ring road of the city, for hours due to the blizzard, and many areas of the city were left without power.

Greece declared Tuesday and Wednesday as public holidays for private and public workers so that the would not have to go in to work due to the risks of traveling through the city.

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