Aquarium to sue chemical supply company following fish deaths


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Texas State Aquarium is taking action against the company that supplied a lethal chemical wrongly labeled as a parasite treatment, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 400 fish.

Hundreds of fish died after staff at the aquarium administered the treatment, labelled trichlorfon, on April 14 to treat trematodes affecting a number of aquarium exhibits.

At a news conference last week, the aquarium's President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Schmid said that final test results confirmed preliminary tests in that the contents of the container were hydroquinone, a carcinogenic substance used for film processing and as an additive to paint and motor fuels. The container was supplied by Fishman Chemical of Vero Beach, Florida, a wholesale outlet for tropical fish pharmaceuticals.

An attorney from the firm Sico White Hoelscher Harris and Braugh, said he filed the civil suit on Thursday on behalf of the aquarium against the distributor, citing neglect and seeking damages that could reach into millions of dollars.

Albuquerque BioPark Aquarium also lost around 100 fish earlier this year following parasite treatment and, after news of the Texas State Aquarium fish deaths, it had the contents of its container of trichlorfon — which also came from Fishman Chemical — tested. Holly Casman, manager of the Albuquerque’s BioPark Aquarium, said that container was also shown to contain hydroquinone, adding that "the city of Albuquerque’s attorneys are reviewing the case and will determine whether to pursue compensation from Fishman Chemical."

A number of aquariums in the US have donated new fish to Texas State Aquarium. Schmid said: "Over 130 new fish have been added to these systems already, representing over 30 species, and we anticipate adding another 150-200 fish over the next week. The support from our aquarium community has been wonderful; we have received and are receiving donated fish from aquariums in Florida, Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Louisiana, and from a number of facilities in Texas. These aquariums are great partners and great friends."

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