Fish kill at Kei River Mouth (SA)

Here’s a little mystery that colleague Greg Brett has tried to explain ………

 February  2013

 A fish kill was reported by Joan Bursey a resident of Kei Mouth. She observed approximately 8 dead large mullet washed ashore in the marine environment in the vicinity of the Kei Estuary on Saturday the 16th January 2013.

Specimens apparently of the same species continued to wash ashore in low numbers on the 17th, 18th and 19th, the latter date on which this event was reported and subsequently 4 specimens were collected and donated. The specimens received were all identified as Striped Mullet Liza tricuspidens and externally appeared to be in good condition.

The mullet Liza tricuspidens  is a warm temperate species occurring commonly from Algoa Bay. Its eastward distribution extends to Kosi Bay. It inhabits shallow coastal waters and also occurs in estuaries. It has a warm temperate – sub tropical distribution and the species abundance in estuaries indicate it has a wide tolerance of water temperatures, salinity, and turbidity. There are at least three to four other species of mullet which are also expected to be common in the estuary and in the marine environment in the vicinity of the estuary. Therefore bearing in mind the single species nature of this event, the limited size class and this species putative tolerance of the prevailing environmental conditions, this fish kill is puzzling. 


Mullet – Liza tricuspidens
Picture: East London Museum

About East London Museum Science

Conservation Biologist East London Museum South Africa
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