Death in the Desert
August 3, 2006 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Three million fish committ suicide in the desert - A very large number of fish die in California's largest lake, the Salton Sea. These events are not unique to this lake; even large areas of the ocean experience them. The eutrophication of coastal regions, as well as land surrounding inland waters, is often to blame for the degraded water quality that leads to these deaths. For the record: the initial report of suicide by the fish can neither be confirmed or denied.
posted by Unique Metabolism (19 comments total)
God, the Salton Sea is a fascinating, horrible thing. Interesting post, UM, thx.
posted by jonson at 6:41 PM on August 3, 2006

Time for a fish fry!
posted by Rubbstone at 7:05 PM on August 3, 2006

"Charlie! Don't do it! Somebody stop Charlie! He's going to the shallow end! Omigod! Now he's just floating up there! Somebody do something!"

Uh. They didn't commit suicide. They asphixiated. They suffocated. They ran outta air. It tends to happen when humanity fucks up the environment.

Yes. I'm blaming this on global warming and not on excessive algae growth, because global warming is more fashionable. No I haven't seen Gore's new film. I'm waiting for it to come out on DVD.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:10 PM on August 3, 2006

gah, water! fish fuck in it.
posted by quonsar at 7:11 PM on August 3, 2006

The Salton Sea is a messed up place. It was created by accident, has since become saltier than the ocean, and periodically breaks out in huge algae blooms that completely consume all oxygen. The place smells like death 9 months of the year.

Massive fish kills are common there.
posted by mathowie at 7:21 PM on August 3, 2006

So all these fish over-bred and they and their waste products used up all the oxygen in the water?

Thank god this could never happen to us! *Cough*Peak Oil*Cough*
posted by orthogonality at 7:31 PM on August 3, 2006

So long and thanks for all the fish.
posted by jonmc at 7:46 PM on August 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

Saw her at the picture show out on the highway
After the fish fry, late last Friday
Havin' a fish fry, number one fish fry
The fish fry out by Frenchtown
posted by homunculus at 8:13 PM on August 3, 2006

It's ok to committ fish 'cause they don't have any feelings.
posted by First Post at 8:16 PM on August 3, 2006

posted by Balisong at 8:49 PM on August 3, 2006

Try Peachy Keen.

No Brian! Don't do it!
posted by ZachsMind at 9:02 PM on August 3, 2006

The Winning of Barbara Worth
posted by shoepal at 9:15 PM on August 3, 2006

Sorry the fish croaked. Thanks for the post.
posted by nickyskye at 9:27 PM on August 3, 2006


Jeez, if there were more Chinese people in the area, there wouldn't be a tilapa overpopulation problem.

(I'm Chinese, and yes, I find steamed tilapa a fricken sweet entree. Thanks for the post but, suicide?)

otoh, I enjoyed the movie.
posted by porpoise at 10:13 PM on August 3, 2006

Alright, alright...the suicide part was a bit of an inside joke. The fish actually come to the surface of the water and gulp air - a direct result of hydrogen sulfide being present (and no oxygen) in the water. They also collect along the shallows due to the surface currents, resulting in "fish-beachings" if you will. The "ocean" link discusses how lobsters actually walked out of the water (to escape the hydrogen sulfide), where they were snatched-up by locals (so, out the water and into the pot - literally). Local fishermen out at the Salton Sea have joked with me that if you just dangled a hook in front of the fish, they'd gladly jump on it. So, fish suicide was a natural by-line for the article.
posted by Unique Metabolism at 10:30 PM on August 3, 2006

porpoise: I'm guessing you mean this movie, but I saw this one about a year ago. A fascinating and sometimes depressing look at the sea and some of the people who live around it. Apparently improving the sea and the area was a pet project of Congressman Sonny Bono, but interest at the Congressional level faded after he died.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:16 AM on August 4, 2006

Let's hope some metafilter member didn't live in that desert.
posted by qvantamon at 6:33 AM on August 4, 2006

March of the Salmons
posted by ZachsMind at 6:55 AM on August 4, 2006

It looks pretty apocalyptic. I wonder if the extinction of the dinosaur was a similar situation. Maybe it is just the way nature deals with overpopulation. Can all that fish be eaten? If not it would be such a waste.
posted by friendly1 at 11:08 AM on August 4, 2006

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