Chestnuts blamed for fishy autumn deaths

An unlikely assassin has been blamed for the seasonal demise of trout in an area of Denmark. Environmentalists say a Native American fishing trick has helped them connect a toxic substance found in chestnuts to the mystery surrounding the death of fish in a Jutland creek.

Researchers have long been puzzled by the phenomenon which sees the trout in Skanderup Brook, close to the town of Kolding, dying in their dozens at the start of autumn every year. The riddle has now been put to rest, however, and chestnuts falling from the trees along the riverbank have had the blame firmly squared on them.

Kolding Council’s environmental engineer, Sten Boglid Fradsen, said he believes that the toxic substance is washed into the river when it rains after the chestnuts are crushed by cars on the nearby road. Frandsen added that after decades of studying river pollution, he only made the connection after discovering that Native Americans used the same poisonous liquid when catching fish for their tribes.

The council plans to take school children out on field trips to help clear away the squashed chestnuts. If that fails, it says it will invest in machinery to help solve the problem. There are no current plans to cut down the trees.