THE Mar Menor lagoon in Murcia is in a ‘critical condition’ following the devastating Gota Fria floods, the regional government has warned. 

Thousands of fish and crustaceans have died after suffocating due to the change in the water’s properties following last month’s flooding.

According to the regional environment minister, Antonio Luengo, scientists and experts are desperately trying to find ways to inject oxygen into the coastal lagoon, which is the largest of its kind in Europe.

It comes after 60 hectometres of fresh water carrying sediments poured into the Mar Menor, leaving the lower layers without oxygen.

This so-called ‘dead water’ now spreads over 210 hectares.

Jose Garcia Varias from the World Wildlife Foundation tweeted: “Thousands of fishes, crabs, shrimps dead in Mar Menor (Murcia), the biggest coastal lagoon in Europe.

“The situation right now is critical, fishers association of SSF has decided to close the fisheries, thousands of European eels are dead in the coast line (an endangered species which finds refuge in the Mar Menor).”

At least three tonnes of dead water life has been pulled from the lagoon.

The government is continuing to transfer fish at risk of suffocation to the interior and less affected areas of the Mar Menor.

Luengo warned that the regional government will insist on the ‘regulation of activities’ around the Mar Menor once the crisis is dealt with.

He said: “Compliance with the law will continue to be demanded with more enthusiasm.”

Asked about the need to reduce intensive agriculture next to the lagoon, Luengo said that ‘we will take all measures to make it compatible with the conservation of the Mar Menor.’

Luengo also announced support measures for fishermen, ‘the most affected sector’, which on Sunday decided to stop fishing, and for tourism.

More to follow…

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