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Something's fishy: why are thousands of dead shrimp washing up on an Italian beach?

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Something's fishy: why are thousands of dead shrimp washing up on an Italian beach?
Thousands of shrimp have suddenly appeared on a beach in southern Italy. Stock photo: DepositPhotos
12:34 CET+01:00
This is an Italian language learner article. Test your vocabulary by trying to guess the Italian for the words highlighted in bold, then check the translations provided at the bottom.

The Italian coast guard is warning people not to help themselves to shrimp that have been washing up by the thousands on an island near Naples.

In the past few days a tide of dead crustaceans has turned the bay of San Montano on Ischia pink, prompting an investigation by biologists.

"At present the incident seems to be limited to San Montano beach, but the Coast Guard is checking to ascertain whether the same phenomenon has occurred in other parts of the island," said the commander of Ischia's coast guard, Andrea Meloni.

He strongly advised against eating the washed-up shrimp, given that it's not yet known what caused their death.

Scientists from a biological research institute in Naples have taken samples for analysis, which they hope will shed light on the mysterious beaching.

According to Repubblica, there may be a perfectly natural explanation: the shrimp may simply have been caught in strong underwater currents that threw the entire shoal off course, a phenomenon that has been known to happen in other parts of southern Italy. 

But authorities have not excluded the possibility that more harmful factors are at work, such as pollution or a sudden 'bloom' of toxic organisms, which is becoming increasingly common in warming seas.

Vocabulary

Coast Guard – la Guardia Costiera

shrimp (or prawns) – i gamberetti

thousands – migliaia

investigationuna indagine

beachla spiaggia

to ascertain – accertare

known (adj.) – noto, conosciuto

samplesi campioni

beaching – spiaggiamento

explanation – una spiegazione

harmful – dannoso

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