Mass fish die off puzzle experts in a lake in Goukamma Nature Reserve, South Africa

Fish Kill Alert

Experts from CapeNature are puzzling over a die-off of fish in Groenvlei Lake in the Goukamma Nature Reserve, near Sedgefield.

On October 6, fish suddenly began dying in the natural lake, which is the only known South African habitat for genetically distinct populations of estuarine round herring and Cape silverside.

“Fish started dying on Saturday, 6 October, in small numbers followed by a bigger fish die-off between 8 to 10 October, when substantial numbers of largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish and indigenous fishes died,” Marietjie Engelbrecht, CapeNature senior manager for communication services, marketing and eco-tourism told News24.

Two experts, CapeNature fish scientist Dean Impson and Dr Kevin Christison – a fish disease scientist of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, visited the lake following reports of the die-off to try and understand the event.

“During this visit dead and decaying bass and bluegill were seen floating next to reed beds on the edge of Groenvlei, especially on its western shoreline.

“There were no fresh dead bass or bluegill, indicating that the major fish die-off had passed. Carp and tilapia seem to be unaffected by the fish die-off. These are very hardy fishes able to survive poor water quality conditions,” said Engelbrecht.

Courtesy of


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