Video: Thousands of prawns wash up on beach in Chile

Fishermen blame a local power plant for heating the sea water

James Legge@James_Legge
Thursday 21 March 2013 12:41

An environmental investigation is underway after thousands of prawns washed up on a beach in Chile.

Hundreds of dead crabs also washed up over the weekend in the same area- Coronel, 330 miles south of the capital, Santiago.

Local fishermen say power plants owned by regional electricity generator Endesa and the Santa Maria plant controlled by Chilean power company Colbun have heated the waters, endangering their catches and their livelihoods.

“I'm 69 years old and starting fishing when I was 9, but as a fisherman, I never saw a disaster of this magnitude,” Gregorio Ortega told local Radio Bio Bio.

Ana Maria Aldana, Chilean prosecutor for environmental crimes, told state television: “We're going to be collecting as much evidence as possible to determine if this is an environmental crime."

An official at Colbun declined to comment, and a spokesman for Endesa said the company was aware of the issue and would issue a statement later.

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