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MASS FISH FALL IN KHACHEN RESERVOIR: WHAT ARE THE REASONS?
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MASS FISH FALL IN KHACHEN RESERVOIR: WHAT ARE THE REASONS?

Norayr HOVSEPYAN

 A few days ago, Facebook user Vladimir Dolukhanyan sounded an alarm that there was a mass fall in fish in Khachen Reservoir. His shots, which were attached to the alarm, caught the attention of many and made the issue public. The relevant agencies also responded by sending specialists to the scene. Developments, however, have not been limited to this extent. Those in charge reported on what had been done and got instructions from the State Minister on what to do. The topic of the working meeting convened by Grigory Martirosyan on October 21 was the fall of fish.
What happened to the fish, what caused their decline? Representatives of the Ministries of Health and Agriculture went to Khachen Reservoir as they sought a response. The task was to identify the cause of the fish's decline on the one hand, and to assess whether it posed a danger to other members of the wildlife, especially humans. The results of the two-day studies were presented to the State Minister. Specialists who went to the scene took samples of both dead fish and water from the reservoir. The samples were examined in two laboratories at once. The State Food Safety Service Laboratory, the Ministry of Health Working Group and the State Hygiene and Anti-Epidemic Laboratory are at the disposal of the specialists of the Ministry of Agriculture. They assure that nothing dangerous or extraordinary has been found for the fish in the water at least. ՙ Chlorides, nitrates, residual chlorine. everything is within the norm. No dangerous elements were found in the composition of the water,” said Ofelia Harutyunyan, head of the State Hygienic and Anti-Epidemic Inspectorate of the Ministry of Health. Among the versions is the infection. Professionals find it unlikely, but in any case, do not rush to make a final assessment. The final answer to this question will be the microbiological study, the results of which will be ready in a few days. It has been suggested that the cause of the fish's decline may be oxygen starvation. Gary Grigoryan, Deputy Minister of Nature Protection and Natural Resources, pointed to the fact that there was a decline in specific fish species, at a certain age. “We have about 9,000 fish lost. The main part, almost without exception, are of the species can. Mostly they are small fish,” said Gary Grigoryan. Oxygen starvation may have been due to the withdrawal of water from the reservoir for irrigation. 
The Minister of Agriculture disagrees with this hypothesis. Jirayr Mirzoyan, a participant in the consultation, reminded that there were also cases when the water in the reservoir was less than it is today, but it did not cause fish to fall. “The minimum threshold is three meters. And we reach that level almost every year, but no problems are reported. " The Minister of Agriculture considers fish hunting among the possible versions using explosives or other means. The topic shifts from environmental to legal. Police have so far ruled out the use of explosives. There are justifications to rule out this option: first there are no traces, no sound of explosion was heard in the neighboring settlements, on the other hand, the decline was only in the specific fish species. In case of an explosion, such a selective approach is hard to imagine. In any case, law enforcement agencies are continuing their inquiries, while keeping the fish market in focus. After all, if they caught a lot of fish and left the fish on the shore of the reservoir, then they would somehow try to sell it.
Whatever the reason, the large amount of fish found on the shore of the reservoir could already become a source of infection. Arthur Nersisyan, head of the State Food Safety Service, assured that steps were taken to prevent this. The area veterinary service staff cleaned and disinfected the site. The collected fish was burnt and destroyed. No new cases of fish declines have been reported.
By the way, cases of decline of can are regularly recorded in different CIS countries. In some cases, the cause is revealed: reservoir contamination, oxygen starvation, infection in water, etc. But in most cases the cause remains unclear.