In a city in China’s southwestern Shichuan Province during the early hours of April 2, a man walking alongside the river suddenly noticed what appeared to be huge quantities of pale fish floating in the water.

He quickly rushed home and returned with fishing equipment, and was soon joined by crowds of amateur fishers – and local officials, who subsequently hauled 300 kilograms of fish from the river to be destroyed.

On Thursday, as the story of the man’s discovery spread, local people descended on the river bank, eager to claim their share of the windfall. The fish were freshwater carp, and soon the air was filled with yells of “We can eat them!”, Shichuan’s News SC reported.

“I saw something kind of white-coloured floating in the water,” said the local who made the odd discovery in Shunqing, a district of Nanchong city. Realising that what he was looking at was a teeming school of carp, he quickly fetched a net and bucket and began fishing. Many of the fish were writhing about “as if they were drunk”, he told News SC.

As the number of people on the banks increased, so too did people’s fervour. To get closer to the huge haul, people took off their shoes, rolled up their trousers, and waded into the river. But many of the fish were already dead.

▼ This image from News SC shows a suitcase full of dead fish.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 19.56.36Screenshot: News SC

There were even people in rubber dinghies rowing out onto the river to increase their catch. “These dead fish are no good,” one person in a rowing boat told a visiting reporter. “We don’t know why they died. The ones that are still alive are okay though.”

According to the fisheries association, a farm upstream had released large quantities of animal waste into the river. This fertiliser, combined with recent warm water temperatures, caused eutrophication, a kind of water pollution which deprives fish and other aquatic animals of oxygen, killing them.

The association dispatched a team to haul the carp from the river and bury them. They disposed of around 300 kilograms of fish, and urged people not to eat the unsafe catch, saying: “For the sake of your health, do not eat these fish.” Let’s hope that those enthusiastic fishermen heed those warnings.

Source: Livedoor via My Game News Flash
Top image: screenshot from News SC
Featured image: screenshot from News SC