Golden Algae Killing Fish in Pecos River

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - State Game and Fish Department officials are blaming golden algae for large numbers of fish dying in the Pecos River around Carlsbad and washing up along its banks.

The department's southeast area fisheries manager, Shawn Denny, says 5,000 to 10,000 fish died, most of them common carp and gizzard shad.  He confirmed golden algae in the water after taking samples Wednesday from the Lake Bataan area.

Denny says it's unusual to find golden algae so prolific at this time of year.  When the algae bloom, they reproduce rapidly and deplete the oxygen, leaving fish to suffocate.

Golden algae is toxic to fish and other gill-breathing organisms, but is harmless to humans, other mammals and insects.  Denny says the golden algae has not affected other area rivers and lakes.