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10,000 fish die in delayed Brazil aquarium project

RIO DE JANEIRO: More than 10,000 fish died in temporary holding tanks in Brazil during construction of what is being touted as the world’s largest freshwater aquarium, local media reported.

Prosecutors in Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul state, are probing who is at fault after the local government and the company that dealt with the fish blamed each other.

Billed as “the biggest freshwater aquarium in the world” by the former governor of the state, work on the $53-million facility was supposed to have finished at the end of last year but has been delayed, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported Saturday.

Since November, the fish had been in quarantine with a firm called Anambi, which won a contract to care for the animals.

Some of the fish were imported from Africa, Asia and Oceania. An Anambi document from May states that 80 percent of the fish died from a temperature drop as winter approached in the southern hemisphere country.

“The transfer of fish was planned between January and February, but the tanks were not ready,” Anambi’s Augusto Silva told the newspaper.

But government officials say they have identified several technical failures in the temporary tanks, including poor oxygenation, the presence of bacteria and inadequate cleaning.

A final date for completion of the aquarium has still not been finalized. -AFP

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