The Goa government has launched an investigation into the mysterious death of a large number of clams, a well-known seafood delicacy, in a river near Panaji. The investigation was launched after reports about the strange phenomenon of deaths of clams in Velim village, around 50 km south of Panaji, were found.The state's fish-loving population is already reeling under high prices on account of severe shortage in fish catch over the last few months. Environment Minister Alina Saldanha had earlier dispatched a team from the Goa State Biodiversity Board to inspect the site and interact with the locals. She has now ordered a detailed investigation."This mysterious episode will need detailed investigation to determine the true causes," she said Monday. According to preliminary investigation, the deaths could have been caused by a shell pathogen, shell fish toxin accumulated through filter feeding, stress induced mortality caused by hypoxia/anoxia or a very high biological oxygen demand in the lower water strata close to the sediments or salinity."A conclusive diagnosis will demand investigation on all of the above five possibilities. The National Institute of Oceanography is being approached to conduct an in-depth study and submit a report on the matter," said a statement issued by Saldanha.Local fishermen have been claiming for over two months that most of the clams from clam beds in the area were found dead and decomposed with empty gaping shells. The expert team observed that the phenomenon was localised and has not been seen in any other part of the state.
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