May 2016 – MARINE HEALTH – 35 tons of dead fish washed up in a lake in China. A researcher with the Haikou Oceanic and Fishery Bureau, Lu Yongliang, said the fish came from the larger Nandu River, and were swept into the Hongcheng Lake with the tide, where they died from the sudden drop in salinity. The saltwater fish are not meant to thrive in freshwater; more water is forced to enter their bodies from the freshwater lake, causing their blood vessels to rupture, Chinese researchers explained. Despite the experts’ statements, the public has been skeptical and are speculating that the fish have died from pollution.
In August last year, tons of dead fish rose to the surface in Tianjin port, after they were poisoned by cyanide in the water that was 277 times beyond the acceptable level. The cyanide had come from two massive chemical plant explosions, which tainted the water with toxic chemicals. Authorities in Tianjin, however, explained the dead fish as a salinity change. City workers in Hainan have been busy removing the fish from the shores and bagging them for incineration plants and landfill sites. –AOL
Mass die-off: Millions of dead creatures litter Chilean beaches
Compared to other countries, Chile is almost all coast, and that geographical fluke means that the country is known for its beautiful beaches. But that reputation may be on the wane thanks to a new sight on Chilean shores: dead animals. Lots of them. Heaps of them, in fact. As Giovanna Fleitas reports for the Agence France-Presse, the South American country’s beaches are covered with piles of dead sea creatures—and scientists are trying to figure out why.
Tales of dead animals washing up on shore are relatively common; after all, the ocean has a weird way of depositing its dead on shore. But Chile’s problem is getting slightly out of hand. As Fleitas writes, recent months have not been kind to the Chilean coast, which has played host to washed-up carcasses of over 300 whales, 8,000 tons of sardines, and nearly 12 percent of the country’s annual salmon catch, to name a few.
At least some of the damage to fish appears to be due to fish farming, which encourages toxic algal blooms. But as with so many strange sea phenomena in the last year, El Niño, which warms the equatorial Pacific, appears to be at least partly to blame. The warm water brought on by the phenomenon put stress on coral reefs near Hawaii and appears to have delayed the arrival of whales to the islands. Meanwhile, off the shores of Chile, the warm water appears to have provided great conditions for toxic algae. The blooming creatures poison fish and other marine life that eat them, and this year the bloom is blamed for losses of nearly a billion dollars among Chilean fishers.
Algae also suck oxygen from the water itself—a change to which Pacific Ocean creatures appear to be particularly vulnerable. In a newly published paper in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers warn that declining oxygen levels worldwide kill animals, but that the diversity of life in the Pacific Ocean is at particular risk. That long-term danger isn’t helped by algae that blooms in response to short-term phenomena like El Niño.
The rising tide of dead animals is raising health concerns, as when thousands of squid washed up on shore earlier this year. At the time, reports Latin Correspondent’s Steven James Grattan, health officials were criticized for not clearing coasts of about 10,000 rotting, dead squid sooner. –Smithsonian
Millions of dead fish wash ashore on Vietnamese coast
Millions of fish have washed up dead along a 125-kilometre stretch of the Vietnamese coast in one of the communist country’s worst environmental disasters. Soldiers have been deployed to bury tons of fish, clams and the occasional whale that began dying in early April along the north-central coast, including some popular tourist beaches. Vietnamese officials facing growing anger over the disaster have not announced the official cause of the deaths, which have affected the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families. Some officials have suggested it may be toxins or algal blooms known as red tide.
But Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered an investigation into how a Taiwanese-owned steel plant received approval to pipe waste directly into the sea. Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, a unit of Tawain’s Formosa Plastics, is looking to raise its investment in the area from $US10.5 billion ($14.2 billion) to $US28.5 billion. The company’s executive vice-president, Chang Fu-ning, said the steel plant’s treatment system had received all appropriate approvals. “It’s beyond doubt,” he said. Mr Phuc said his government is determined to track down the main culprits with “objectivity, honesty, prudence and urgency.” –SMH
Thousands of fish die in lake in Bolivia still a mystery
Thousands of small sardine-like fish have been found dead in Lake Alalay, but no one is completely sure what caused oxygen levels in the lake to drop so dramatically. Thousands of dead fish have washed up onto the shores of a lake in Bolivia.
Just before they died, some of the fish had just hatched from their eggs in Lake Alalay, in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba.No one yet knows the number of dead fish, but they have stockpiled five cubic meters (177 cubic feet) so far, so it’s possible there is over a ton of dead fish in the lake. –Telegraph
Looking for causes for the mass die-offs
Piles of dead whales, salmon and sardines are washing ashore in Chile as the El Niño weather phenomenon warms the normally frigid waters off the coasts of the Southern Cone nation. Chile, with its 2,485 miles of Pacific coastline, is particularly susceptible to El Niño’s whims, and thanks to the warmer waters a “red tide” of algae has decimated much of the country’s marine life.
Chile is the world’s second-largest producer of salmon and the surge of algae has choked an estimated 40,000 tons of the fish in the Los Lagos region. The red tide also has been blamed for some 8,000 tons of sardines washing ashore at the mouth of the Queule River and the thousands of dead clams that washed up on Chiloe Island.
“We think that a common factor in the deaths of creatures in southern Chile, in the salmon farms and in fish off the coast, is the El Niño phenomenon,” the Chilean fisheries institute, IFOP, said in a statement, according to AFP. The current El Niño “has been classed as one of the most intense in the past 65 years,” the IFOP added. –Fox Latino