21,000 fish are dead at a California university research center after a ‘catastrophic failure’

The University of California, Davis is looking into what killed tens of thousands of fish, including chinook salmon.

A “catastrophic failure” killed approximately 21,000 fish at a California university research and care center.

In a statement, the University of California, Davis said it was “devastated to report” the incident, which occurred on Thursday at its Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture (CABA).

“The loss appears to be due to chlorine exposure, to which fish are especially sensitive,” the statement said.

What went wrong is still being investigated by the institution. According to the Associated Press, the company has also initiated an independent external review and is analyzing the potential risk of similar accidents at other facilities.

As an example of the type of work done at CABA, the facility stated that researchers were looking into how “environmental stressors” affect different fish species, such as green and white sturgeon and chinook salmon, some of whose populations are endangered.

Sturgeon and chinook salmon, as well as koi and tilapia, were among the fish killed, according to The Guardian. According to UC Davis spokesperson Andy Fell, CABA staff raised some of the fish from eggs.

“It’s very distressing for all the staff,” he said.

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