A fine kettle of fish

NO OXYGEN: The water is too warm for the fish.

SCORES of dead fish once again appeared on the banks of the lower Fuengirola River on Tuesday, September 6, as dissolved oxygen plummeted in the late summer heat.

The fish were all marine species, mostly grey mullet, which become trapped in the saline pool that forms between the Miramar shopping complex and the river’s mouth when the river stops flowing.

The middle stretch of the river has been dry for months, with all the permanent water in its lower reaches of marine origin.

Over the last few weeks the mouth has become increasingly filled with sand, however, preventing new water from entering.

Tuesday morning saw a cleanup operation in place, with a team of workers netting out the dead animals as locals complained about the smell.

An excavator was also at work on the beach, clearing sand to restore connectivity with the sea.

The mass deaths are not unusual in the lower Fuengirola River, when the summer heat brings about thermal stratification in what is essentially a saline lake.

The water becomes too warm for the fish, and the levels of dissolved oxygen are reduced since cold water is capable of holding more of any gas.

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