Oil barriers to rein in spread of dead fish from Oder River

Aug 14, 2022, 5:59 PM | Updated: Aug 15, 2022, 9:12 am
Dead fish lie on the banks of the German-Polish border river Oder in Lebus, eastern Germanny, Satur...

Dead fish lie on the banks of the German-Polish border river Oder in Lebus, eastern Germanny, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Poland’s environment minister says laboratory tests following a mass dying off of fish detected high levels of salinity but no mercury in waters of Central Europe’s Oder River. (Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)

(Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — German officials expressed mounting anger Monday at the slow flow of information from Poland as experts raced to discover what killed tens of thousands of fish in a shared border river and put up barriers used to contain oil spills in a bid to rein in the spread of fish carcasses.

German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke demanded a transparent and full investigation into the cause for the massive fish die-off in the Oder River after having met her Polish counterpart in the Polish border city of Szczecin on Sunday evening.

“There would be a massive loss of confidence, especially among the Polish population, but probably also among us, if this (investigation) did not succeed,” Lemke said Monday on ARD television.

The Oder runs from Czechia to the border between Poland and Germany before flowing into the Baltic Sea. Ten tons of dead fish were removed from it last week and people have been asked not to swim in it or even touch its waters. Authorities have not yet found the reason for the massive fish die-off.

Authorities on Monday were putting up sea barriers usually used during oil spills on the Szczecin Lagoon, where the river runs into the Baltic Sea, to prevent a possible spread of fish carcasses there, the German news agency dpa reported.

Since last Friday some 80 tons of dead fish have been collected, said Brig. Karol Kierzkowski, spokesman for Poland’s fire service.

Lemke also announced the two European Union countries have created a task force with experts to exchange updates on the investigation into the ecological disaster.

The state governor of Brandenburg, which borders Poland along the Oder River, criticized Polish authorities for their lack of information on the fish die-off.

The information about the environmental disaster has come only “in dribs and drabs” or “not at all,” Dietmar Woidke said, adding that “this must be dealt with urgently in the coming months,” dpa reported.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki countered Monday that Poland was doing everything to cooperate with German to explain the fish die-off, and said the German authorities also could not yet explain the cause.

The German environment ministry said they were expecting results on possible toxins in the river water later this week. Brandenburg state Environment Minister Axel Vogel said “it may take several more days until we have checked through all the substances that we consider possible.”

There is probably more than one cause for the fish die-off, Vogel said, adding that the current drought and low water levels almost certainly shared part of the blame.

The entire ecosystem of the Oder River has been damaged, he said.

“That’s why we don’t think we have a disaster that can be solved within half a year by repopulating with fish,” Vogel said.


Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - This Sept. 2015, photo provided by NOAA Fisheries shows an aerial view of adult female South...
Associated Press

Researchers: Inbreeding a big problem for endangered orcas

People have taken many steps in recent decades to help the Pacific Northwest's endangered killer whales, which have long suffered from starvation, pollution and the legacy of having many of their number captured for display in marine parks.
21 hours ago
FILE - Hiring signs are displayed at a grocery store in Arlington Heights, Ill., Jan. 13, 2023. Emp...
Associated Press

Pay transparency is spreading. Here’s what you need to know

U.S. employers are increasingly posting salary ranges for job openings, even in states where it’s not required by law, according to analysts with several major job search websites.
21 hours ago
Meadowdale High School 9th grade students Juanangel Avila, right, and Legacy Marshall, left, work t...
David Klepper and Manuel Valdes, Associated Press

Seattle high school teacher advocates for better digital literacy in schools

Shawn Lee, a high school social studies teacher in Seattle, wants to see lessons on internet akin to a kind of 21st century driver's education, an essential for modern life.
21 hours ago
South Carolina Senators hear from the parents of people who died from fentanyl overdose on Jan. 19,...
Associated Press

With overdoses up, states look at harsher fentanyl penalties

State lawmakers nationwide are responding to the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history by pushing harsher penalties for possessing fentanyl and other powerful lab-made opioids that are connected to about 70,000 deaths a year.
21 hours ago
FILE - In this July 3, 2014, file photo, the Microsoft Corp. logo is displayed outside the Microsof...
Associated Press

Microsoft adds AI tools to Office apps like Outlook, Word

Microsoft is infusing artificial intelligence tools into its Office software, including Word, Excel and Outlook emails.
4 days ago
FILE - This photo provided by the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey shows the Tanag...
Associated Press

Alaska volcanoes now pose lower threat, after quakes slow

Diminished earthquake activity led authorities Thursday to reduce the warning levels at two volcanoes on an uninhabited island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain because of the decreased potential for eruptions.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Oil barriers to rein in spread of dead fish from Oder River