Fish Die-Offs in Shanghai and Beijing

By Chen Yilian
Chen Yilian
Chen Yilian
April 9, 2013 Updated: April 9, 2013

First the pigs, then the birds, now the fish: more than 600 pounds of dead fish were pulled from the Sijing Tang River in Shanghai in early April, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Jiegang Daily ran a report commenting on an Internet post with a picture of dozens of fish corpses floating in the river and the question, “What’s wrong with Sijing Tang?” The river flows through Shanghai’s Songjiang district.

According to the report, local residents said that the fish die-off started at the end of March and recently got worse, making the water turbid and smelly.

Another batch of dead fish appeared around the same time in a Beijing lake. The cause of the deaths is unclear, but the administrator of surrounding Chaoyang Park says it has nothing to do with pollution, state media Beijing News reported. 

During the Communist Party’s political meetings in March, more than 16,000 dead pigs were pulled from the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, and a major source of drinking water in Shanghai. Jiaxing authorities upstream said the pigs had not died from disease, but had frozen to death, and Shanghai authorities said that the water quality was fine. Both claims were met with skepticism by residents.

Bird flu is also back in the form of a new strain, H7N9. The National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory confirmed that a pigeon sample from a wholesale market in Songjiang district, Shanghai, tested positive for the virus.

Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai have suspended live bird sales, and flocks have been culled to try to prevent spread of the virus. So far eight Chinese have reportedly died of H7N9.

An Internet user wrote, “We can’t eat pork because 10,000 dead pigs floated in the Yangtze River. We can’t eat poultry and eggs since many cases of H7N9 were confirmed in Shanghai. Today, dead fish stretch across several hundred yards in Shanghai due to unknown causes. We probably can’t eat fish soon. There’s a lot pressure living in this hellish city. What on earth can we eat?”

Translation by Sunny Chao. Written in English by Mary Silver.

Read original Chinese article.

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Chen Yilian