Mysterious Fish Kill on Oman Coast
Sept. 5, 2000 -- Millions of dead fish washed up on the Gulf of Oman last Saturday, and environmental authorities are examining them to try to determine what has caused the ecological disaster. The huge fish kill is the second to strike the coast, 50 miles northwest of the capital Muscat, within a week.
Oman supports a flourishing fishing industry along its 1,050 miles of coastline. Fishermen fear the phenomenon will affect their livelihoods.
Eng Saud Bin-humud al-Haysi, Assistant Director General for Fisheries and Guidance, said that cold currents from the Arabian Sea had flowed into the Gulf of Oman, carrying photoplankton with them. The organisms consume huge amounts of oxygen needed by deep sea fish. The deep swimmers are more susceptible to being killed off by the organisms, because they are slower than surface swimmers and are not able to navigate fast enough to seek areas free of the phytoplankton.