Intense Midwest Heatwave Causes Thousands of Fish to Go Belly Up

dead fishIt's been a bad week if you're a fish and you live in the Midwest. About 40,000 shovelnose sturgeon died in Iowa last week as water temperatures rose to over 97 degrees. Catfish, carp, and other fishies also turned belly-up, as well as bass and redhorse fish in the Illinois region. The summer continues to blast the Midwest with heat and draught, and there's no respite in sight. The water in some spots has reached 100 degrees. Ouch.

Obviously, it's one of the driest and hottest summers on record, and thousands of fish are paying the price, almost literally. Can you guess how much those dead sturgeon are worth?

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If you guessed $10 million, damn, you really know your sturgeon. That's correct -- the fish are valued at more than $110 a pound, and their eggs are sought-after for caviar.

Luckily, the weekend rain should cool the rivers down a bit, but still, when the water gets that hot, the fish are outside their tolerance levels and cannot handle it. So many fish keeled over that their carcasses ended up clogging an intake screen near a power plant. That probably wasn't fun to clean up.

Amidst all the other weather-related issues the Midwest has had to deal with this season, tornadoes, draught, storms, etc., this has got to be the worst smelling and, possibly, the most alarming. Whenever animals start dying off en masse, it's a little unsettling. At least we know the reason for their demise, unlike when thousands of dead birds dropped from the sky, but still, you don't want to look out your window and see that your environment has been deadly. It's a little unnerving.

Are you in the Midwest? How are you handling the weather this summer?

 

Photo via John McKlumpha/Flickr

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