Environment: Slight all-clear after fish kills in the Oder

After the fish die-off in the Oder, Brandenburg gave the all-clear signal.

Environment: Slight all-clear after fish kills in the Oder

After the fish die-off in the Oder, Brandenburg gave the all-clear signal. "We haven't had any dead fish for a few days now," said Environment Minister Axel Vogel (Greens) on Wednesday in the environment committee of the Brandenburg state parliament in Potsdam. "We can therefore say: The (...) acute crisis situation is over."

The levels of oxygen and chlorophyll are declining and developing towards the normal values, Vogel said. The counties concerned had cleared the banks of dead fish. According to Vogel, daphnia - small water crustaceans that are used for control purposes - no longer die either. This is also an indicator of relaxation in many places.

Disagreements between Germany and Poland

Since the beginning of August, tons of dead fish have been recovered from the German-Polish border river. Experts assume that high salinity in the river is a major reason, combined with low water, high temperatures and a toxic species of algae. According to Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens), hundreds of chemical substances could be contributory factors in the environmental catastrophe. The fish kill had led to upsets in the relationship between Germany and Poland. Poland insists on an expansion of the Oder, Germany wants a stop.

According to the Brandenburg Environment Minister, the exact cause of the fish kill has not yet been finally clarified. The final report by a German-Polish group of experts on the causes should be available by the end of September. According to his environment ministry, discharging salt may have been legal. The green light is expected to be given this Friday for farm animals to be allowed to be watered with Oder water again.

Brandenburg's state government is examining whether affected fishing companies can be compensated for the environmental disaster. "The corresponding funds would also be available (...), provided that this is legally impeccable," said Vogel. Brandenburg's Consumer Protection Minister Ursula Nonnemacher (Greens) had previously said that no legal right to compensation could be derived from European food law: the state government was aware that the fishermen's livelihoods were at risk. Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) announced that he would talk to those affected and explore solutions.

It is about twelve fishing companies on the Oder. The scientific director of the Institute for Inland Fisheries, Uwe Brämick, had described the losses of the companies as drastic. "We assume that it will take two to four years before the potential of the stocks has developed again as it was before this development," said Brämick. In the Oder, around 50 to 60 tons of fish would normally be caught by the twelve companies, which earn 80 percent of their revenues from it. Anglers take just as many tons out of the river every year. Nonnemacher said that as long as it has not been clarified what led to the fish kill, no permission for fishing in the river can be granted.

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