Iceland investigating mass herring deaths

Low oxygen blamed: Iceland investigating deaths of herring worth almost $10 million


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) (The Associated Press)  –  Published February 06, 2013  – Associated Press

REYKJAVIK, Iceland –  Researchers in Iceland are blaming low oxygen levels in a shallow fjord for the death of tens of thousands of tons of herring.

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

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.

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

He says herring tend to “overwinter” in large populations and may have depleted the oxygen in the shallow fjord. He says the danger should ease in spring when the herring spread out into a wider area.