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Over 20,000 Fish Die in ‘Catastrophic Failure’ at UC-Davis Facility

Over 20,000 Fish Die in ‘Catastrophic Failure’ at UC-Davis Facility

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

Seems like a pretty big deal. Will anyone be fired over this?

NBC News reports:

21,000 fish die in ‘catastrophic failure’ at University of California, Davis facility

About 21,000 fish died of possible chlorine exposure at a University of California, Davis research and care facility, school officials said Thursday.

The university is investigating a “catastrophic failure” at the UC Davis Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture, according to a statement. Officials didn’t say what kind of fish were killed.

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

UC Davis has also initiated an independent external review to determine where systems failed and any potential risks at similar facilities, officials said.

Scientists and students at the aquaculture center address “problems associated with California’s cultured and wild aquatic biological resources,” according to its website.


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Roy in Nipomo | August 13, 2022 at 12:28 pm

The number looks high, but size/age is important. A single two pound female koi (as an example) can lay four times that number of eggs in a spring. Losing 22k fry is an oops; losing that many older/more mature fish (particularly if a breeding experiment) can be catastrophic.


Can’t help but think that some freshman/intern “helped” by throwing a city water hose into a tank because the water levels looked low.

Reminds me when my first employer was designing their first (and last) water-cooled mainframe. One of the field engineers noticed that the chilling was dropping below acceptable levels. He traced it to algae accumulation in the fluid tubing. After a hour of research at the library (pre-Internet) he learned that the standard solution to removing algae was chlorine. (“Swimmin’ pools… movie stars.”) So he added pool chlorine to the coolant. Came in the next morning to find the entire expensive prototype machine was scrap, as the chlorine ate all the copper off the custom VLSI chips, starting at the direct fluid-to-chip cooling junctions and continuing into all the nano traces. Killed the entire project then and there, the machine was never made.

UC Davis? They probably put the fish in a nice swimming pool…