Thousands of fish die in Mexico after lagoon dries amid extreme heat and drought

Fish blanket the surface of a lagoon in Mexico after an extended dry spell resulted in its water levels becoming dangerously low.

Thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Bustillos Lagoon, near the town of Anahuac in Chihuahua in northern Mexico over the weekend, reports Reuters. There, temperatures reached 104 degrees after an extended dry spell, and water levels are dangerously low, said officials.

The region hasn't seen any significant rainfall in several years, Tom Kines, a senior meteorologist with Accuweather, told USA TODAY.

"It's a dry place in general," said Kines. "They get most of their rainfall in July, August, September, and if they miss out on that rainfall, they're kind of doomed."

Why did the fish die?

There is a lot less water where the fish live, and the water that was left was of poor quality, according to Irma de la Pena, head of the Ecology Department in the city of Cuauhtemoc.

"When the amount of water decreases, the pollutants become more concentrated, and therefore they also affect the species that live here," said De la Pena.

90% of Mexico affected

The drought is so severe that livestock are dying as the water in reservoirs runs low.

Around 90% of the country is affected by the drought, which is the most afflicted in the country by the extreme weather since 2011.

The summer of 2023 was also dry in Anahuac, and Kines believes it led to the region's current state. Unfortunately, the situation doesn't seem to have an end in sight.

"Any issues they're having probably aren't going to be corrected this summer," said Kines. "They may have to wait until next summer or beyond."

Will it rain soon?

No. The region might see some rain towards the end of July, but it could take until September before folks living there see any showers or thunderstorms.

"They're not getting any rain in the near future," said Kines.

Accuweather doesn't anticipate a heavy rain season for the region either. According to Kines, it will more than likely see less than the average amount of rain.

Contributing: By Jose Luis Gonzalez; Reuters

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Thousands of fish dead in Mexican lagoon, extreme drought blamed