Associations call for the Oder expansion to be stopped after the fish die

Environmental disaster on the Oder

The fish kill has consequences for the ecosystem of the Oder.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Given the Environmental disaster in the Oder several nature conservation and environmental organizations are pushing for a comprehensive rescue plan for the German-Polish border river. “The dramatic loss of fish, shellfish and other molluscs, both in absolute numbers and in terms of biodiversity, as well as the unforeseeable consequences for the ecosystem of the Oder require rapid, comprehensive political action,” demanded the German Nature Conservation Association on Friday. At a German-Polish meeting in Bad Saarow in Brandenburg, the fish kill should be the topic.

In the Polish West Pomeranian Voivodeship, a bathing and fishing ban continues to apply until further notice. Meanwhile, in the Oder-Spree Canal, Brandenburg stranded sports boats continue with a special lock after days of being stuck.

The nature conservation ring said that the Oder disaster must be used as an opportunity for a revival, which the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany would have to participate. The associations in the ring include the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz (BUND), the German environmental aidthe Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) and the WWF Germany.

They consider an immediate stop to the expansion of the Oder planned by Poland to be necessary. The Oder must be protected and used in an environmentally friendly way. At the German-Polish Environment Council, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) and her Polish counterpart Anna Moskwa should launch an Oder action program on Monday.

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Lemke had announced that, in addition to further clarification, the meeting would also discuss how the Oder could be regenerated and a better ecological state could be achieved. She had already called for an end to the Oder expansion.

River salinity as a possible reason for fish kills

Masses of dead fish had been discovered in the border river. The exact cause of the fish kill is not yet clear. Scientists see a major reason for the environmental catastrophe in the high salt content in the river, combined with low water, high temperatures and a toxic species of algae. Environmentalists had warned of another fish kill.

>> Read more: Fish deaths in the Oder – poisonous “golden algae” are said to be responsible

Meanwhile, the Polish West Pomeranian Voivodeship has extended the bathing and fishing ban that was originally imposed until August 25 due to the fish kill. The ban does not apply to the Szczecin Lagoon, head of administration Zbigniew Bogucki wrote on Twitter on Thursday evening. No dead fish were discovered there, Bogucki told the PAP news agency. There is also no ban on fishing or swimming on the German side of the Szczecin Lagoon.

The Oder flows into the lagoon, which at around 900 square kilometers is about twice the size of Lake Constance. Two thirds of it belongs to Poland. Water connections to the Baltic Sea run from there.

A dozen sports boats, which were stranded for days in the Oder-Spree Canal due to the environmental disaster, are now free to move again. Among them are the two Saxon hobby skippers who had to stop for 14 days and received a lot of support from residents and local authorities. In a special action, the waterways and shipping administration continued to smuggle the boats at the Kersdorf lock in Brandenburg on Friday.

More: Federal Environment Minister calls for “complete clarification and transparency”

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