Thailand: Razor Clams dying at Don Hoi Lot; more dead Rays found
By Chularat Saengpassa, 11th October 2016;

Razor Clams (Solen sp.) are dying off in the famous tourist attraction of Don Hoi Lot river delta in Samut Songkhram province, near the same area where dozens of Giant Freshwater Stingrays (Himantura polylepis) were recently found dead.

The number of dead Stingrays found in the Mae Klong River, which runs through Samut Songkhram and nearby Ratchaburi province, now stands at 45, Samut Songkhram’s fisheries chief Utai Singtothong said, as three more carcasses were found yesterday.

Water pollution – the suspected cause of the Stingray deaths – already has taken a toll on the Don Hoi Lot river delta.

“Water has turned red and smelled badly during the past three to four days,” Supap Kongraksa, a village head in Samut Songkhram’s Muang district, said yesterday.

Her team has been inspecting coastal zones after the shocking reports of the Stingray deaths.

“At dawn, I found many Razor Clams climbing up to the muddy surface at Don Hoi Lot. When my team caught them, we found them to be very weak and dying,” she said.

Don Hoi Lot is a famous seaside area that typically has a robust population of Razor Clams. Many tourists travel to Samut Songkhram specifically to visit the area.

“I am now worried that all the Razor Clams here will die,” Supap said.

Bandhit Pansawat, a coordinator for the Self-Managed Samut Songkhram Group, said Blood Cockles (Tegillarca sp.) in the area had also died.

“We also noticed that many small fish had headed out of the Mae Klong River to a connected small canal since September 29,” he said, adding that he was disappointed the authorities had so far said that the water quality was fine.

Utai said yesterday that his agency was in the process of examining samples from the river, as well as water from Don Hoi Lot. “Results should be available soon,” he said.

Last Friday, the Pollution Control Department announced that the amount of dissolved oxygen in Samut Songkhram’s Mae Klong River was sufficient to support life.

Weerakit Joerakate, who works with Kasetsart University’s Samut Songkhram Fisheries Research Station, said his team had collected water, soil and plankton samples along the Mae Klong River yesterday from Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi provinces.

“We believe we will be able to identify toxic substances, if any are there, within five days,” he said.

Source: The Nation