The Marine and Coastal Investigation Institute of Magdalena confirmed the elevated death rates in Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta were caused by a lack of oxygen.
In the region of Pajarales in Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta about 10,000 tons of fish were found dead on August 6th. After fishermen and the community alarmed the authorities water samples were taken to analyze the cause of death.
The species affected died because there was a lack of oxygen in the water, confirmed a couple of days later Invemar, the Marine and Coastal Investigation Institute of Magdalena. This checks what Corpomag, the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Magdalena, had already stated.
According to the statement published by Invemar there were high salinity and temperature levels found in the water, suggesting the water has been sitting there for a long period of time. In addition to these, the presence of phytoplankton is associated with low oxygen levels during the night. Fish then have no oxygen to breath and end up dying of hypoxia.
More so, phytoplankton analysis will confirm whether if potentially threatening algae was also present in the area. These results are expected to be released in the following days.
Meanwhile the reaction team is already working in the area. Fresh water is being transported to the region to supply its people and prevent diseases. Fishermen are being counted to complete a census and find the best solution for their losses. One of them is to farm the fish and continue to receive some form of revenue.
Also the authorities have committed to increase monitoring and protection in la Cienaga Grande. Water quality will continue to be checked and the police has said they will also ensure no deviations of river are done.
María Andrea Marquez