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Mystery pollutant kills fish near Portuguese beach

A mystery pollutant has killed thousands of fish near a Portuguese beach popular with bathers and surfers.
PTI | By Reuters, Lisbon
PUBLISHED ON JUL 08, 2003 09:58 AM IST

A mystery pollutant has killed thousands of fish near a Portuguese beach popular with bathers and surfers.

Authorities banned fishing and swimming at the Melides Lagoon, about 80 km (50 miles) south of Lisbon, after fishermen reported on Sunday that fish were dying in large numbers. Eels were seen wriggling on to the sand to escape the fouled water.

Sandro Nobrega, a biologist with the nearby Santo Andre Nature Reserve, said on Monday the disaster at the lagoon, which lies behind the beach, may have been man made or caused by an algae bloom, which reduces the oxygen content of water. Experts were investigating.

Nobrega could not estimate how many fish had died but the Portuguese news agency Lusa quoted environmentalists as saying that millions may have been killed.

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