Iceland investigating mass herring deaths

Feb 06, 2013
Herring worth billions in exports are seen floating dead Tuesday Feb. 5 2013 in Kolgrafafjordur, a small fjord on the northern part of Snaefellsnes peninsula, west Iceland, for the second time in two months. Between 25,000 and 30,000 tons of herring died in December and more now, due to lack of oxygen in the fjord thought to have been caused by a landfill and bridge constructed across the fjord in December 2004. The current export value of the estimated 10,000 tons of herring amounts to ISK 1.25 billion ($ 9.8 million, euro 7.2 million), according to Morgunbladid newspaper. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti)

Researchers in Iceland are blaming low oxygen levels in a shallow fjord for the deaths of tens of thousands of tons of herring.

Masses of dead herring have been found in Kolgrafafjordur fjord for the second time this winter, raising concerns about Iceland's fishery.

The Morgunbladid newspaper estimated the value of the 10,000 tons of fish found dead this week at 1.25 billion kronur ($9.8 million). An even larger number of fish died in December.

Workers clear up dead herring worth billions in exports Tuesday Feb. 5 2013 from the shore of Kolgrafafjordur, a small fjord on the northern part of Snaefellsnes peninsula, west Iceland, for the second time in two months. Between 25,000 and 30,000 tons of fish died in December and more now, due to lack of oxygen in the fjord thought to have been caused by a landfill and bridge constructed across the fjord in December 2004. The current export value of the estimated 10,000 tons of herring amounts to ISK 1.25 billion ($ 9.8 million, euro 7.2 million), according to Morgunbladid newspaper. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti)

Roughly one season's worth of herring has been lost, Johann Sigurjonsson, director of Iceland's Marine Research Institute, said Wednesday.

He said herring tend to winter in large populations and may have depleted the oxygen in the shallow fjord. The danger should ease in spring when the herring spread out into a wider area, he said, downplaying fears that the entire herring fishery is in danger.

Herring worth billions in exports are seen floating dead Tuesday Feb. 5 2013 in Kolgrafafjordur, a small fjord on the northern part of Snaefellsnes peninsula, west Iceland, for the second time in two months. Between 25,000 and 30,000 tons of fish died in December and more now, due to lack of oxygen in the fjord thought to have been caused by a landfill and bridge constructed across the fjord in December 2004. The current export value of the estimated 10,000 tons of herring amounts to ISK 1.25 billion ($ 9.8 million, euro 7.2 million), according to Morgunbladid newspaper. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti)

"We regard this as a serious event," he said. "We are investigating; we would like to find out if it is necessary to try to step in somehow."

The government's economic minister has increased funding for monitoring in the area to determine what can be done to prevent more fish from dying off. Some blame recent construction in the region for the kills.

Herring worth billions in exports are seen floating dead Tuesday Feb. 5 2013 in Kolgrafafjordur, a small fjord on the northern part of Snaefellsnes peninsula, west Iceland, for the second time in two months. Between 25,000 and 30,000 tons of fish died in December and more now, due to lack of oxygen in the fjord thought to have been caused by a landfill and bridge constructed across the fjord in December 2004. The current export value of the estimated 10,000 tons of herring amounts to ISK 1.25 billion ($ 9.8 million, euro 7.2 million), according to Morgunbladid newspaper. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti)

Schoolchildren, town workers and volunteers have been cleaning up the , which can be turned into feed for mink and other .

Revenue from the sale is expected to go to local children and to area schools.

Explore further: Study finds saving lonely species is important for the environment

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists look for reasons behind herring decline

Sep 15, 2009

In an ominous environmental sign, California regulators this month closed all herring fishing in San Francisco Bay for the first time ever, shutting down the last commercial fishery in the Bay.

Norway's Puffin chicks lack food

Jul 17, 2007

Very few puffin chicks born this year on the Norwegian island of Rost are expected to survive due to shortages of the birds' food source.

Recommended for you

Himalayan Viagra fuels caterpillar fungus gold rush

9 hours ago

Overwhelmed by speculators trying to cash-in on a prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to do at the local level what world leaders often fail to ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rubberman
2 / 5 (2) Feb 06, 2013
Possible correlation.....?

http://arctic-new...013.html

plaasjaapie
1 / 5 (2) Feb 06, 2013
The repeated allusion to "worth billions" is terribly misleading. We're talking about Icelandic Krona. One Icelandic Krona is worth a bit less that 0.8 US cents. :-/
ScooterG
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 06, 2013
No mention of global warming...that's odd.
VendicarE
5 / 5 (2) Feb 07, 2013
@Rubberman: Your link is broken.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.