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By MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE
Last updated at 9:30 AM on 16th September 2010
At first glimpse, it looks like the devastating effects of an environmental disaster - thousands upon thousands of dead fish choking a waterway.
Coupled with the fact that the gruesome discovery was made in the Bayou Chaland on the coast near New Orleans - an area affected by the notorious BP oil spill - initial reports understandably put two and two together.
Fingers were pointed at BP, which is being held responsible for the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20 that killed 11 workers and caused the largest offshore oil spill in American history.
Fish kill: This incredible scene was discovered on Friday in the Bayou Chaland area of Plaquemines Parish, near New Orleans. Experts say it is a common natural phenomenon that had nothing to do with the BP oil spill
Shallow water: The combination of shallow water and high temperatures caused the fish to suffocate, according to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokeswoman Olivia Watkins
Oil spill: Despite evidence that the oil spill had affected the area, wildlife experts insisted the phenomenon occured naturally
It certainly looked like another nightmare for the already demonised oil company.
But Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries experts say low tide and high temperatures were to blame for the deatsh of such huge numbers of fish in Plaquemines Parish.
Spokeswoman Olivia Watkins said today that department biologists found the fish kill had nothing to do with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The fish were found on Friday and fisheries experts were dispatched to determine whether the phenomenon was related to the oil spill.
Ms Watkins said low tide trapped fish in less than two feet of water. She added that hot water held less oxygen than cold, and heat also raised the metabolism - so plants and animals needed more oxygen to survive.
She said the area where the fish were found is bordered on one side by a rock dam, and a shallow outlet to the Gulf of Mexico on the other.
'When the tide is low, it becomes a pool,' she said.
Among the species killed by the tide were pogie fish, redfish, shrimp, crabs and freshwater eels.