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article imageTons of dead fish removed from Rio Olympic rowing venue

By Karen Graham     Apr 18, 2015 in World
Rio De Janeiro - Over 37 tons of dead fish have been scooped out of a smelly lagoon in Rio de Janiero, Brazil this past week, and the job is still going on. City officials are blaming the die-off of twaite shad on changing water temperatures brought about by recent rains.
Rio de Janiero's Comlurb waste management company said on Friday that work is continuing in removing the dead fish from the Rodrigo de Freitas lake, where the 2016 Olympics rowing and canoeing events will take place.
The die-off was first noticed late the week before last. By Friday, over 37 tons of the rotting, silver-looking little white fish, called a twaite shad, had been removed and hauled to the city's main dump. Conlurb is saying the cleanup efforts will continue until the die-off is over.
Rio s Conlurb sanitation workers cleaning up some of the thousands of dead fish from the rowing venu...
Rio's Conlurb sanitation workers cleaning up some of the thousands of dead fish from the rowing venue.
BBC
The Daily Mail reports that Rower and Olympic hopeful Felipe Xavier said: ''I have to come train but these dead fish bother us because the smell is very strong and the huge amount of fish slows the boat." But Alexandre Fernandez, rowing coach of the Rio-based Botafogo club, appeared to have no worries about the dead fish or the smell, saying he thought the die-off was natural and not caused by pollution.
In February this year, Guanabara Bay, the 2016 Olympic sailing venue had the same problem, with a die-off of twaite shad fouling the waters of the bay for days. Of course, Rio's Environmental Ministry says there is nothing to worry about because the incident can be explained.
A team of more than 60 people have been working since last week to clear the remains of the smally d...
A team of more than 60 people have been working since last week to clear the remains of the smally dead fish from Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.
BBC
Blaming the die-off on a sudden change in water temperature, the secretariat said in a statement: 'The intense rains that happened last week and a rise in the sea levels led to a spike in the (sea) water entering the lake, causing a thermal shock," adding that the water temperature in the lake fell four degrees Centigrade.
However, the explanation is not sitting well with a lot of people, including Estefan Monteiro da Fonseca, an oceanographer at Fluminense Federal University. He says the explanation "makes no sense." The oceanographer explains, citing the large quantities of sewage that continually flow into the lake.
The overwhelming smell at the lagoon has led to complaints from residents and members of local rowin...
The overwhelming smell at the lagoon has led to complaints from residents and members of local rowing clubs.
BBC
Fonseca adds, the lake "has large concentrations of sulfur because of the organic material dumped into it, and depending on the winds, that material rises to the surface and kills fish." The oceanographer warns that if a die-off were to occur during the Olympic Games in August 2016, "Rio's image could suffer irreparable damage."
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