From: Associated Press
Published December 19, 2006 12:00 AM

Brazil Probes Dead Fish Washing Ashore

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Brazilian environmental authorities were investigating Monday what caused some 15 tons of dead fish to wash up in a major southern river.

Andre Milanez, of the Rio Grande do Sul state environmental agency FEPAM, said that a lack of rainfall was the most likely cause of death but that an industrial accident or illegal runoff had not been ruled out.

"The river is sick. It can't absorb anymore residential and industrial pollution dumping. Right now we're just trying to get the fish out of there," Milanez said by telephone from the state capital of Porto Alegre, about 930 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro.

The Dos Sinos river runs along the outskirts of Porto Alegre and supplies water to about 32 cities in the state.

Milanez believes a lack of rainfall caused the river's temperature to rise to around 93 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the water level to drop and reducing the amount of oxygen available to the fish.

Last October, some 85 tons of dead fish washed up in the same river due to an illegal sewage discharge. A local businessman has been charged with illegal dumping for that incident.

Source: Associated Press

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