More Than 20,000 Fish Killed in ‘Catastrophic’ Accident at Research Facility

by Jonathan Howard

At the University of California, Davis a “catastrophic” accident has led to the death of more than 20,000 fish in a research facility. The university is trying to figure out exactly what happened to allow these fish to die. These fish were stored at the Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture. This is home to all sorts of aquatic programs at the university.

Right now, there is an investigation into what happened at UC Davis. The school has expressed its sympathies with the students and researchers that care for, study, and work with these animals every day.

What ended up killing these fish was a high level of chlorine in the water. There is no clear idea right now as to why this happened. However, that is the purpose of the investigation.

Mass Fish Die Off

These fish have to be accounted for in the proper ways. They aren’t just any random fish. Regulatory agencies and others will need to be notified. There are even Native American tribes that work with the school in order to have certain aquatic animals cared for and protected.

Those species of fish include green and white sturgeon. The lab also included endangered Chinook salmon.

“We share the grief of the faculty, staff, and students who worked to care for, study and conserve these animals,” UC Davis said in a statement. “The people who conduct and support the research at this facility are conservationists, ecologists and veterinarians whose life work is devoted to understanding and supporting these species.”

While there were certain tanks affected by the chlorine lea, others were spared. So, there is a feeling of this could have been much worse. But, given the circumstances, I’m sure that the facility feels pretty down about this.

What Happened at UC Davis Facility?

There is going to be a thorough investigation to figure out what went wrong and what part of the process failed. Each day, someone checks the water for things just like this. Dr. Brignolo noted that the fish were checked the night before the “all-encompassing loss.”

The amount of chlorine found in the water was equivalent to that found in drinking water. While it isn’t enough to harm humans, we don’t have to breathe the stuff. These fish just couldn’t survive in those conditions and after 12 hours, almost all of the fish had died. Such a waste and an awful loss.

Hopefully, researchers are able to bounce back from this. One has to imagine being so close to the start of the school year that this could throw some wrenches in the plans for a lot of students and faculty. The good news is that not all the fish died and not all of the tanks were hit with the high levels of chlorine.