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Drought Suffocates 1,200 Tons of Fish

COLOMBIA An estimated 3 million fish have suffocated in a reservoir in southern Colombia, where a four-month drought has drastically drained water levels, leaving too little oxygen to sustain dozens of hatcheries.

Since Sunday, more than 1,320 tons of tilapia raised inside giant metal cages have gone belly-up and floated to the surface behind the Betania hydroelectric dam, where scorchingly high temperatures have lowered water levels by 82 feet in recent months.

The local fish industry, which exports the tilapia as fillets to the United States and Europe, could lose more than $2 million, said Eliseo Motta, government secretary in Huila state, where the dam is located.