FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Thousands Of Dead Fish In East Palestine?

Joseph Casieri | Fact Check Reporter

A photo shared on Twitter allegedly shows thousands of dead fish in an Ohio creek following the train derailment in East Palestine.

Verdict: False

While fish wildlife has been killed following the derailment, the photo was taken at Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA in August 2022.

Fact Check:

A Norfolk Southern freight train derailed Feb. 3, resulting in a massive fire in East Palestine, Ohio that also saw the release of vinyl chloride chemicals into the environment, according to The Associated Press. Some are concerned the impacts from the derailment have spread past East Palestine and into neighboring states, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Twitter post, first uploaded on Feb. 13, appears to show an image of a shoreline with many fish, the caption reading, “Fish DEAD in OHIO, TOXIC!” (RELATED: Are These Search And Rescue Photos Of A dog From The Recent Earthquake In Turkey?)

There are no credible news reports that suggest this photo is related to the train derailment incident in East Palestine, Ohio. A reverse image search revealed the photo was taken at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California in Aug. 2022, as featured in this archived article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Thousands of fish were found dead in Lake Merritt due to a dangerous algae bloom, dubbed the “red tide” for its color. Local news outlet, The Oaklandside, reported on the incident saying the algae “depletes oxygen levels in the body of water it inhabits.” The “red tide” affected several parts of San Francisco Bay.

Approximately 43,000 fish have been found dead in the weeks following the East Palestine train derailment, according to News 5 Cleveland. Household pets, such as cats, have also experienced major effects from the release of vinyl chloride, with some being put down as a result, CBS News reported.

This is not the first time a post has claimed to show wildlife being affected by the Ohio train derailment. Check Your Fact recently debunked a post claiming birds in Kentucky died from exposure to chemicals released from the train derailment in Ohio.

Joseph Casieri

Fact Check Reporter


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