MANGALURU: An unusual climatic phenomenon is believed to be responsible for the largescale deaths of the Silver Croaker fish along the Kasarkod beach in Honnavar taluk of Uttara Kannada district. According to marine experts, cold ocean currents, which can be an early sign of global warming, could have caused the fish deaths.
The 5 km-long Kasarkod beach was found strewn with about five tons of dead Silver Croaker fish. Local fishermen initially suspected it to be a case of poisoning or the result of illegal fishing methods. However, the cause was a drastic change in water temperature, pointed out marine expert Prakash Mesta who conducted some checks.
“The water was so cold that it felt as if some unimaginably huge block of ice had fallen into the sea. The cold current stretched for up to 2 km,” claimed Ganapathi Tandel, a fisherman. Explaining what may have caused so many fish to die, Mesta said, “This particular species of fish, a bottom dweller, cannot tolerate extreme cold temperatures. There are seven ocean currents.
One is linked to Canada, which connects with the Indian Ocean. If the water gets cold there due to melting of icebergs, the water here also gets cold. The bottom sea fish are unable to bear this sudden dip in temperature and are washed ashore dead.”
Tandel said that he had noticed a similar occurrence several years ago, when Silver Croaker fish were found dead on the beach, but only about 5 to 10 kg. “But this time, a lot more fish have died. Our entire community got together and collected about 250 baskets of fish, weighing 5 tons, from the shore,” he said. Being edible, the fish was sent to a fish oil factory in Kundapur.