Tons of stinking carcasses: guesswork about fish deaths in the Oder

  Apparently there are several reasons for the mass death of fish in the Oder. Apparently there are several reasons for the mass death of fish in the Oder. Image: IMAGO / Winfried Mausolf

What killed the fish in the Oder? Did the mass extinctions have a single cause, or did multiple factors contribute? Those responsible and citizens are hoping for answers to these questions on Tuesday. Results may then be available – at least that was what the Federal Environment Ministry announced on Monday. So far, one thing is clear: According to the Polish authorities, mercury is not the reason.

Schwerin: Ministry advises against swimming at some bathing areas

According to an estimate by the BUND environmental association, up to 100 tons of fish have died in the Oder in the past few days. 500 kilometers of river are affected.

  According to estimates, up to 100 tons of fish have died in the Oder. According to estimates, up to 100 tons of fish have died in the Oder. Image: IMAGO / Winfried Mausolf

This also causes concern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern . According to official information, no effects were known in the north-east by Monday afternoon. 'That's the good news,' said the District Administrator of Vorpommern-Greifswald Michael Sack (CDU) of the German Press Agency.

But the people at the foothills of the Szczecin Lagoon are called for caution. The Schwerin Ministry of Health advises against swimming for several bathing areas. The district and the State Ministry for the Environment had previously recommended refraining from angling and fishing or removing water.

Oil barriers are intended to prevent fish carcasses from spreading in the lagoon. The Oder flows into the lagoon, which at around 900 square kilometers is about twice the size of Lake Constance. Two thirds of it belongs to Poland. Water connections to the Baltic Sea run from there.



Volunteers fished tons of smelly carcasses out of the water

According to government information, Polish authorities had the first indications at the end of July that there were masses of dead fish floating in the river. Since last week there has also been in Germany alarm mood. Citizens should not touch the Oder water. Volunteers fished tons of smelly carcasses out of the water to be burned at the PCK refinery site in Schwedt. What are the long-term consequences for fish, Animals and plants of the Oder region and the Baltic Sea are not foreseeable.

Mutual recriminations: 'No sovereign crisis management'

Both the federal government and the state Brandenburg reiterated their dissatisfaction with the lack of information from Poland on Monday. Brandenburg's Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke criticized the information as 'a little bit' or 'not at all'. on a visit to Lebus on the Oder, where he wanted to get an idea of ​​the situation. The SPD politician reiterated: 'We still don't know exactly what caused these symptoms of poisoning in the fish.'

However, the German Anglers' Association and the German Fishing Association criticized the German authorities. 'From the outside, the activities of the German authorities did not look like sovereign crisis management,' it said in a joint statement on Monday. The chairman of the German-Polish parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Paul Ziemiak, called for 'complete clarification'. Instead of assigning blame, it is now about solving 'this dangerous environmental problem' together, said the CDU politician of the Funke media group.

Suspected: drought, chemical waste and a disturbed ecosystem

The Polish side is in the process of searching for 300 substances in its central laboratory, reported Brandenburg's Environment Minister Axel Vogel (Greens) on site. According to his assessment, there is probably more than one cause for the fish kill. The drought and the low water supply almost certainly had a part in it. The entire ecosystem of the Oder is damaged.

  Volunteers fished tons of smelly carcasses out of the Oder. Volunteers fished tons of smelly carcasses out of the Oder. Image: IMAGO / Winfried Mausolf

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday that the fish kill was apparently caused by the discharge of a 'huge amount' of chemical waste. The Polish government offered a reward of more than 200,000 euros for the investigation.

Source: watson.de