The dead fish seen over the weekend in the Athalassa lake were the result of a sudden drop in temperature and the depletion of oxygen caused by large quantities of mud falling into the water following the recent rainfall, the agriculture ministry’s fisheries and forestry departments have said.
According to a statement, the ministry’s agencies took immediate action after the dead fish were spotted in the last few days.
The department’s personnel returned to the lake on Monday to continue removing large quantities of dead fish, a job which they began on Saturday.
The Green Party condemned the government’s inertia, saying that it is not the first time a massive amount of fish have died for the same reason.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, the task of removing the dead fish from the lake will be concluded on Monday.
“The spectacle was tragic today,” Efi Xanthou from the Green Party said. “It is not the first time and I’m not hopeful it will be the last.”
“We can only condemn the inertia demonstrated by the competent authorities. Once the problem is known, why is oxygen not pumped by a pump?” a party statement said, which also called on the authorities to take action to prevent yet another future mass killing of fish.
The party stressed the lake is vital for the fragile life cycle in the park and the solution is not to remove the dead fish and bring more.
“Finally, we hope that the fish will be removed immediately because there is already a bad smell. At the same time, we hope that steps will be taken to ensure that the birds that will come to spend the winter at the lake will not be deprived of food,” the statement concluded.
Catfish, which are the victims of rainy weather conditions, often suffocate when sediment enters the lake as they live nearer the bottom of the lake than other species and cannot get oxygen from the air.
In the past, the forestry department has said it may have been the wrong choice to introduce this type of catfish to the Nicosia lake.