10,000 fish die as aquarium construction delayed

More than 10,000 fish have died in temporary tanks while waiting for completion of what has been billed as the world’s largest freshwater aquarium in Brazil.

Prosecutors in Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul state, are now investigating who is at fault after the local government and the company that dealt with the fish have traded accusations, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, cited by news agency AFP.

The Aquario do Pantanal was initiated by the state’s previous governor, Andre Puccinelli, who claimed it would be "the biggest freshwater aquarium in the world". Work on the $53-million facility was supposed to have finished at the end of last year but has been delayed. 

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

Some of the fish were imported from Africa, Asia and Oceania. 

According to the newspaper, an Anambi document from May states that 80% 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 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 finalised.

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