UC Davis mourns loss of thousands of fish


The college reported a catastrophic failure at the UC Davis Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture resulted in the death of over 20,000 fish

UC Davis announced this week that a ‘catastrophic failure’ at its Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture (CABA) caused the deaths of almost 21,000 fish. According to a statement released by the school,1 the deaths appear to be linked to chlorine exposure, which fish are sensitive to.

Although the cause seems to be apparent, UC Davis announced it is still in the process of1:

  • Investigating where its process failed
  • Caring for surviving fish
  • Notifying regulatory and funding agencies and collaborators
  • Reviewing processes in similar facilities
  • Developing a mitigation plan for research programs directly affected
  • Initiating an independent external review
  • Supporting students, staff, and faculty

Some of the fish that were affected by this failure were those involved in an investigation of environmental stressors and bioenergetics on fish species, including green and white sturgeon and the endangered Chinook salmon.

“We know that many researchers, regulatory agencies, Native American tribes, and other partners trust us to care for their aquatic species. We will work hard to earn that trust by conducting a thorough review of our facilities, holding ourselves accountable for what happened, and taking steps to prevent it from happening ever again,” UC Davis said in its statement.1

Although there were other facilities at UC Davis conducting aquatic research that were not impacted, they do not have similar potential for chlorine exposure. UC Davis plans to evaluate the risk of the other facilities to prevent further tragedies like this one.


Statement: UC Davis Grieves the Loss of Fish. News release. UC Davis. August 11, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022. https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/statement-uc-davis-grieves-loss-fish

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