A Love Knysna subscriber took these photos of baby floaters at approximately 2.45pm yesterday. She said there were hundreds.
She happened upon them by the culvert running alongside Long Street, just before the bridge to Thesen Islands and the turn to the Knysna Yacht Club.
From the second picture, it seems as if pollution is the cause but that’s a red herring (so to speak). The tide was rising so the fish would have had to have died in the estuary in order to be swept into the culvert.
I emailed the Eden District Health Department and SANParks, the custodians of our Knysna Estuary. I called SANParks as well. They said that they’d immediately send a ranger to investigate.
Again, James McCarthy, from the Eden Health District department, failed to respond.
SANParks did this morning. Thank you to Nandi Mgwadlamba, their PR officer, for being so prompt.
They cannot determine the cause with certainty as it was a localised event. They also cannot determine where the fish died as the tide and westerly wind could have floated them in from elsewhere.
Pollution can deplete oxygen levels but Nandi offered another option. On the day, there was a notable drop in salinity in the Knysna Estuary.
“It’s a common occurrence where there is a mixture of freshwater and seawater. The levels of salinity in the estuary fluctuate and tides play a role in distributing this in an estuarine system. When rain increases, salinity levels might decline. It’s not a definite that everytime salinity increases, marine life will wash out… because different species have different tolerances and responses to such changes.”
No dead fish have been reported elsewhere so there isn’t a major issue to be addressed.
Thank you to the subscriber who was quick to alert me. If we all play a responsible part in our town, us and nature are better off for it.