FACT CHECK: Do These Images Show Dead Fish That Washed Up On Tonga’s Shores?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims to show three photos of dead fish that washed up on Tonga’s shores.

Verdict: False

All three photos were taken in countries other than Tonga.

Fact Check:

An underwater volcano erupted near the Pacific nation of Tonga earlier this month and subsequently triggered tsunami waves that impacted the country, according to CNN. The dual natural disasters left three dead and caused significant damage, BBC News reported. In the wake of the catastrophe, some social media users began sharing images of dead fish that allegedly washed up on Tonga’s shores.

“Dead fish washed ashore on Tonga after the Volcanic eruptions. The crabs though having a field day on the beach!” reads the text accompanying one such post that includes three images, two of which show dead fish washed ashore.

Through reverse image searches, however, Check Your Fact found all three images included in the post were taken in other countries, not Tonga. (RELATED: Does This Image Show A Tsunami In Tonga?)

The first image included in the post shows dead fish scattered about a beach. It is included in a 2015 article from The Courier-Mail which explains the photo was taken at a beach in Queensland, Australia.

The second photo shows what appears to be piles of dead fish on a beach and can be traced to Uruguay. The same photo was published in a 2015 article from El Pais, a Spanish-language news outlet, that identified the photo as being taken in the South American country.

The final image shows hundreds of crabs scurrying about a beach. A reverse image reveals it was originally shared by Facebook user Aisea Kai’tu, who posted it to his Facebook page on Jan. 15 and tagged the location as Fiji’s Gau Island. Check Your Fact found no credible news reports about dead fish washing ashore in Tonga following the volcanic eruption. 

The disaster in Tonga has been the subject of viral misinformation on several occasions in recent weeks. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video that allegedly showed a tsunami in Tonga following the eruption and another that allegedly showed the “exact moment” the recent volcanic eruption took place.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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