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Thousands Of Dead Fish Worth $10 Million

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Thousands of dead fish are cropping up in the midwest during some of the hottest days on record, and millions of dollars are being lost because of it.

Many of the fish were shovelnose sturgeon, found in Iowa and highly valued because of their eggs, which are used for expensive caviar. The fish were found dead in the Des Moines River, which rose to temperatures of more than 97 degrees last week. The species is worth about $110 a pound; the loss is valued at around $10 million.

“It’s something I’ve never seen in my career, and I’ve been here for more than 17 years,” said Mark Flammang, a biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “I think what we’re mainly dealing with here are the extremely low flows and this unparalleled heat.”

Many states have suffered droughts this summer as temperatures have soared well over 100 degrees; in states like Oklahoma, that’s not so unusual, but for midwest towns like Des Moines, where crops and wildlife take top priority as money-makers, it’s devastating.

“Those fish have been in these rivers for thousands of thousands of years, and they’re accustomed to all sorts of weather conditions,” Flammang said. “But sometimes, you have conditions occur that are outside their realm of tolerance.”

Illinois is taking a hit, as well, as several of their lakes are drying up due to the heat. They expect to see a drop in population where some species are concerned, but others, such as large-mouth bass, can tolerate the heat a bit better.

“These last two years are the hottest we’ve ever seen,” fisheries chief Doug Nygren said. “That really can play a role in changing populations, shifting it in favor of some species over others. The walleye won’t benefit from these high water temperatures, but other species that are more tolerant may take advantage of their declining population.”

Thousands Of Dead Fish Worth $10 Million
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  • blakmira

    Hey, screw the loss of life… it’s all about the $$$$$, right? Let’s put a price tag on everything that crawls, swims or flies. Guess some people will just have to give up their caviar for awhile.

    • David Jensen

      Unfortunately, that’s the only way to get some people to care is to show them how it just hit them in the wallet. Just like the only way to get some people to conserve water is to price it like the valuable resource it is. :-(

  • Steve O

    Oh well. No caviar for Mittens Romney and his clan this summer. Guess they will have to settle for FOIE GRAS.

    • RAYMUNDO

      Now how the heck do you take your anger about something and connect it to fish eggs? Well, you did it, but you are a piece of work.

  • http://yahoo dave dunn

    sign of the in of time

  • D. Dehardt

    Hmmm, wonder if any of these fish are burned. Check this video. !st part is translation from Farsi, but later – pics worth a thousand words.
    http://youtu.be/YSubC55KI2c