Something’s fishy: Germany to launch ‘special probe’ into Oder

Something’s fishy: Germany to launch ‘special probe’ into Oder |

The government will launch a special investigation into the mass fish deaths reported in the Oder River that provoked tensions between Berlin and Warsaw earlier this year.

The government announced its plans for the investigation, set to be carried out by a scientific institute, on Thursday in an official letter to the parliament.

In July and August this year, masses of dead fish, rising water and salinity levels causing significant ecological damage were first reported on the Polish side of the Oder river, then the German one.

In August, a Polish parliamentary investigation led by the opposition revealed nearly 300 sites of illegal wastewater discharge but failed to identify the culprits.

According to the German government letter, the new investigation is set to “map the damage done to the ecosystem and the services it provides” and help boost the area’s regeneration.

The Environment Ministry will also provide financial support for affected fish farms. Regional media reported recently that fish farms in Brandenburg near the Polish border suffered significant losses due to reduced catch volumes.

Meanwhile, the investigation does not mention looking into the causes of the mass deaths. Today, most experts agree that the most likely reason is the excessive development of a specific type of algae.

The Oder incident created tensions after Berlin accused Warsaw of not informing it of the problems in time. Poland, however, accused Germany of spreading false accusations about the cause of the damage.

(Julia Dahm |


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