Two-Headed Fish Spark Concern Over Pesticide Contamination
Photo of a bass larvae spawned with two heads taken by fish farm owner Gwen Gilson, via Yahoo; credit AFP/Ho/Gwen Gilson
Thousands of bass larve spawned in northern Australia with a significant problem - they had two heads. The fatal mutation is believed to be due to toxic water contamination. Tests have cut out the possibility of a virus or bacteria and instead point towards pesticides coming from macadamia nut farm nearby. The connection seems clear since the occurrence of deformities rose along with the expansion of the farm.
Matt Landos, an aquatic animal specialist and member of the Australian College of Veterinarian Scientists, said the mutant larvae at a Noosa River fish farm survived just 48 hours and were dying en masse.
"When we used the water on-site or have taken bass from the Noosa River those fish appear to have been contaminated and they give rise to deformed or convulsing larvae," he told AFP.
The deformities don't stop with the fish - other farm animals are experiencing birth defects as well. And it could very well not stop at the fish or the farm animals.
The organophosphates in question -- carbendazim and endosulfan -- had been recognised as potentially dangerous and even banned in some countries, but were still recommended for use in Australia, said Landos.
An investigation is underway, and test results from the fish specimens are due back next month.
Until then, don't drink the water...
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