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Mystery as lake turns into fish graveyard

Residents baffled as thousands of fish wash up dead in Jumeirah Islands

  • Dead fish on Jumeirah Islands lakeImage Credit: Supplied
  • Experts are investigating the cause behind the death of thousands of fishImage Credit: Supplied
XPRESS

Dubai: Hundreds of thousands of fish have mysteriously washed up dead in a lake in Jumeirah Islands much to the horror of residents.

Dr. Reza Khan, Principal Wildlife Specialist at Dubai Municipality, attributed the mass deaths to low oxygen levels in the water caused by overpopulation of fish and algae, though this is yet to be confirmed by authorities.

Residents said the stink of the rotting piles of fish has engulfed parts of the neighbourhood.

“It’s so rank that we had to shut our windows,” said a resident of Cluster 42. “The sight is horrifying and the stench unbearable,” said another man who lives here.

A thick white foam-like substance has been spotted bubbling to the surface of the lake, sparking fears that the water may have been polluted.

Several residents took to social media to express their concerns.

“I wonder if there’s a connection… The mystery foam is piled high and I have never seen something like this before,” said a Jordanian. “Does anyone know why the lake is filled with dead fish? We walked around the area and the sight is unbelievable! Any idea what is going on here?’’ said a British expat.

Natural phenomenon

Dr Khan said the fish deaths were caused by a natural phenomenon called ‘fish kill’ or ‘fish-die’ where an entire population perishes due to lack of sufficient oxygen in the water. This usually happens when there is an over-population of fish or if there is an algae bloom inside the lake.

“Fish kills are often the first signs of environmental stress and must be investigated further.Many fish species have low tolerance for variations in environmental conditions and their death is often an indicator of a problem,” said Khan.

He said the lake needs to be regularly replenished with water and fish need to be removed every three months as they tend to over-populate quickly. “This is especially true in a closed lake,” he explained.

Nakheel response

Developer Nakheel said: “We have prioritised the matter by carrying out necessary cleaning work. Meanwhile, our environmental team is investigating further. We assure residents that water quality and circulation levels continue to be well within the accepted standards.”

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