Hua Hin hit by deluge of rotten fish after rains

Hua Hin hit by deluge of rotten fish after rains

A foreign family checks out the pile of dead fish washed onto the beach where they had planned to spend the day at Hua Hin on Tuesday. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyaem)
A foreign family checks out the pile of dead fish washed onto the beach where they had planned to spend the day at Hua Hin on Tuesday. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyaem)

Villagers and tourists in the seaside town of Hua Hin were assaulted by the smell of rotten fish yesterday morning after hundreds of thousands of specimens died on a 10-kilometre stretch of beach there following torrential rains on Monday.

Dead fish weighing an estimated 10 tonnes covered the sand from Klai Kangwon Royal Palace to Kao Takiab, officials said. The beach is famous site where hotels and high rent residents locate.

The rain caused floodwater, soil and waste to flow out to sea, which officials said altered the chemical composition of the seawater in a way that blocked photosynthesis and depleted the amount of oxygen in the water.

It is the second time this year that fish have died en masse in the province in the wake of deluges running out to sea, they said.

Yet locals were undaunted, with some even capitalising on the phenomenon.

Villagers could be seen taking some fish home to eat yesterday while middlemen bought smaller specimens to sell at a nearby factory producing animal feedstock. Most of death fish are juveniles. However, there were also small shrimps and other aquatic animals such as mussels.

Fisherman also combed the beach looking for pla sai, or sandfish. Most were too rotten to be consumed but edible specimens were fetching upwards of 100 baht per kilogramme at a local market in the early afternoon.

The beach was so littered with dead fish that local authorities needed to deploy 100 staff to collect them, according to Jeeraway Prapmanee, assistant district officer of Muang Hua Hin.

Meanwhile, heavy rain in the North caused major floods in a number of districts yesterday and triggered landslides in Mea Moh village, Lampang. At least nine houses were badly hit.

The provincial governor declared Moo 6 in tambon Mae Moh a natural disaster zone after it was reported landslides had laid ruin to 8 rai owned by nine families, making for a total of 25 residents.

Their houses were destroyed. The authorities helped move them and salvageable belongings to safer ground.

Denchok Monjai, a senior official at the Geological Resources Management and Promotion authority in the North, blamed the unstable geography.

He said the rain had caused landslides and enlarged pre-existing cracks in the rock and authorities would have to keep an eye on the problem to ensure it got no worse.

The soil is a kind of semi-permeable clay that blocks water from draining easily, said Mr Denchoke.

Flood water from heavy rain then seeps into the cracks and gets stuck in an underground cavity as high as two metres. Holding too much water, the underground cavity collapses, which has led to the nine houses subsiding.

The situation is worrying as the water seepage is expanding and crack enlarging.

"If the rain had continued, the situation could have got out of hand," he said.

"We found the area is prone to landslides but we need to conduct studies over the next week to determine whether the area can be restored and locals re-admitted."

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