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Dead fish from the Mar Menor appear in Santiago de la Ribera

22_05_19_Dead fish from the Mar Menor appear in Santiago de la Ribera
250 small dead fish are removed, while fishermen continue to collect algae from the water. Measurements at 48 points in the Mar Menor determine low oxygen levels.

The testimony of a resident of the area of Socaire, in Santiago de la Ribera on the Mar Menor, explained that he had seen how the dead fish were being collected in the area where what had been predicted for months, an episode of hypoxia, i.e. a reduction in the supply of oxygen, and fish mortality, had occurred. Not a large number of specimens have been collected, some 250 specimens, three kilos, but it is still a premonition of what may happen in the coming days.

IMIDA technicians have travelled to the site to take measurements at 48 different points and have determined that the oxygen levels could cause problems for the fauna in this enclave if they coincide with other factors such as the proliferation of green algae, according to the initial assessment of the Environment Councillor, Antonio Luengo.

For Greenpeace, what happened in the Mar Menor was to be expected. Its head of agriculture, Luis Ferreirím, says that the lagoon is a time bomb and calls for immediate measures before it collapses completely. He cites the drastic reduction of fertilisers in the countryside and livestock farming.

 

POLITICAL REACTIONS ON THE SITUATION OF THE MAR MENOR

These are the facts, although the situation is not new, nor are the reactions from the political arena. This episode of hypoxia became known in the middle of the plenary session of the Regional Assembly in which Minister Luengo was appearing, precisely to talk about the Mar Menor. Without being asked about it, he has referred to the case and has evaded responsibilities, both of him and of the president of the community, Fernando López Miras.

The blame, he argued, lies with the central government’s inaction. The Minister of the Presidency, Marcos Ortuño, who hopes that on his next visit to the Region of Murcia, the Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, will not have to express her condolences for the “environmental crisis” of the Mar Menor. He is confident that she will speed up measures to prevent the collapse.

And the mayor of San Javier, the municipality where this episode has occurred, says that this is clear proof that everything is going to get worse. He puts the focus on the pumping of the Rambla del Albujón and asks the State to urgently stop this “monster” and lower the water table.

The government delegate, José Vélez, reminds the councillor for the environment that the blame for the precarious balance of the Mar Menor lies with the PP regional government, which, he says, “has been dead for years”. He adds that we are dealing with something very serious that puts the Region of Murcia at stake. Vélez insists that the central government is committed to the recovery of the Mar Menor, even assuming competences that do not correspond to it. He gives an example: the royal decree that is published this Wednesday and provides for 20,000,000 euros in sanitation works in the riverside municipalities.

But there have been more political reactions to what happened this Wednesday in the Mar Menor, a prelude to what may happen in the coming days with the announced rise in temperature at a time when this enclave is full of algae and with parameters that do not bode well. The truth is that what has happened is that there has been an exchange of accusations between the two sides.

The PSOE MP, Manuel Sevilla, lashes out against Antonio Luengo’s management, asks the Ministry for Ecological Transition for help to put an end to illegal irrigation in this area and announces that the Hydrographic Confederation is working on a programme to withdraw water from the aquifer.

Podemos MP María Marín has not hesitated to call for the resignation of the Minister for the Environment, asking him to abandon his “victimism”.

The Ciudadanos deputy, Ana Martínez Vidal, described as “infamous” the balance sheet presented by the councillor of his administration, with the lagoon “on the verge of collapse”.

In support of the regional government, the parliamentary spokesman for Vox, Juan José Liarte, expelled from this party, criticised the lack of inaction by the central government. The defector from Ciudadanos, Francisco Álvarez, added his voice to these criticisms.

And Joaquín Segado, of the PP, insists that the Ministry for Ecological Transition has not executed any item related to the Mar Menor. It only makes “announcements”.

 

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