Light Rail Work Suspected as Cause of Yarkon Fish Deaths

YERUSHALAYIM -

Pollution caused by construction work on the Tel Aviv light rail is the suspected cause of the deaths of thousands of fish in the Yarkon River at the beginning of the week, Ynet reported.

The corpses of an endangered species known as bleak fish were strewn along the surface of the river for over a mile on the Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan border, causing a stench and health hazard.

“I left home at six in the morning, and suddenly I saw thousands of dead fish in the river,” said Neti Levi, a resident of Ramat Gan. “There was a strong smell of dead fish for a few hours before; I think that it happened overnight [on Shabbos]. I left the area after a quarter of an hour; I was nauseated from the smells.”

The Yarkon bleak, a small freshwater fish, belongs to the carp family. In the 1950s, there was a decrease in the number of fish of this species, and it is now endangered. The fish usually swims near the bottom of the river, feeding on small invertebrates and algae. It lays its eggs on stones and flora in the river.

The NTA company, which is responsible for the construction in the area, acknowledged the problem in a statement: “A report was received on the deaths of fish in the Ayalon River near one of the worksites of Solel Boneh. NTA instructed the contractor to immediately take care of the hazard and to stop construction at the site until after a comprehensive investigation into the matter.”