Mass mortality of fish and water quality assessment in the tropical Adyar estuary, South India

Mass mortality of fishes was reported at the Adyar estuary, South India, during November 2017. The probable reasons for fish mortality are analyzed in this paper. Critical assessments on water quality parameters including the metal concentrations, nutrients, and histology of gills and liver of fish (Mugil cephalus) isolated from the impact zone were performed. Among the metals observed, chromium showed levels (3.64 ± 0.001 mg L−1) much above the average permissible limits (0.1 mg L−1). The measured values of physico-chemical parameters in the impact zone are as follows: dissolved oxygen 4.7 ± 0.22 mg L−1, total alkalinity 132 ± 4 CaCO3 mg L−1, salinity 5.3 ± 0.3 PSU, temperature 27.8 ± 0.16 °C, nitrate, 1.66 ± 0.48 mg L−1, nitrite 0.01 ± 0.0008 mg L−1, ammonia 0.03 ± 0.001 mg L−1, phosphate 1.52 ± 0.002 mg L−1, and silicate 13.85 ± 3.1 mg L−1. The low salinity could have escalated the toxicity of the metal. In addition, histology of gills and liver showed cellular necrosis, epithelial lifting, hyperplasia, edema, mucous cell proliferation in the gills, cytoplasmic vacuolation of hepatocytes, and degeneration of liver which reveal that chromium toxicity is the most probable cause for mass mortality.

Raja U. K. U., Ebenezer V., Kumar A., Sanjeevi P. & Murugesan M., 2019. Mass mortality of fish and water quality assessment in the tropical Adyar estuary, South India. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 191: 512. doi: 10.1007/s10661-019-7636-4. Article (subscription required).

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