A preliminary study by the Icelandic Marine Research Institute has shown significant young fish mortality in Andakílsá river in Borgarfjörður, West Iceland, after utility workers emptied the intake reservoir of the Andakílsá river electric plant May 15, RÚV reports. The reservoir was emptied at the mouth of Skorradalsvatn lake, which led to a great quantity of mud flowing down the river. It could take many years for the river to recover. Orka náttúrunnar, the company which manages the electric station in the river, is working on an action plan to compensate for the most major damage as soon as possible.
Specialists from the Marine Research Institute reported their findings Sunday to interested parties. Sigurður Már Einarsson, ichthyologist at the Marine Research Institute, stated () that the total amount of sediment released into the river is estimated to be between 8,000 and 10,000 cubic meters. Sigurður Már said the accident was a significant event for the ecosystem of the river. The sediment lies in thick layers, from 30 to 60-cm-thick, and the river is covered in it at its deepest points.
Experts are working on an action plan to improve the situation in the river and speed up its revival. Sigurður Már considers this of utmost importance; salmon utilize some streams connected to the river for spawning and the accident may prove to have considerably damaged the stock for the coming years.
“Among other things, the fry which ought to be coming out from the gravel now from last year’s spawning, I think that season is mostly gone. And older fish have also received a significant blow. So we’re anticipating a low both in fry production and catch over the next few years. Our suggestion is that no fish be killed in the river this summer, that it is left to the fish to hatch to some extent,” Sigurður Már remarked.
He added, “now it is on to a revival phase. We have very little experience when it comes to methodology for such a thing. We have to call on all kinds of specialists, hydrodynamicists, current experts, to help us figure out what kind of technology and equipment may help. It’s no easy job.”