Scientists from a local nature reserve who examined the waters of the bay said 95% of sea life to the depth of 10 to 15 meters was dead.
Toxic Algae Blooms
Red tide, a type of marine algae that undergoes an explosive growth and begins producing toxins, typically occurs off Florida’s southwest coast every year between late summer and fall and spring. Due to currents and winds, some tides never reach shore. But this year’s tide, Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials say, is the worst since the last big tide in 2006, that lasted for more than a year and a half and killed more than 250 manatees. Weather forecasters expect hazardous beach conditions to last at least through Thursday, according to the Fort Myers News-Press.
Environmental groups say the report underscores the need for the United States and Canada to keep supporting Great Lakes restoration efforts. A budget proposal released by President Donald Trump zeroed out funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but members of Congress from the Great Lakes area say they’ll fight to retain it.
“These past years have been extremely unusual off the California coast, with humpback whales closer to shore, pelagic red crabs washing up on the beaches of central California, and sportfish in higher numbers in southern California,” said Elliott Hazen of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, a coauthor of the paper. “This paper reveals how broad scale warming influences the biology directly off our shores.”
David Lusseau, senior lecturer in Marine Top Predator Biology at the University of Aberdeen, told IBTimes UK this does appear to be the largest whale stranding for any type of baleen whales. He said: “I do not know of other events with such large numbers of individuals involved. Seeing multiple sei whales stranded together in clusters is beyond the ordinary.”
The kind of toxic algae that forms each summer on Lake Erie and other lakes around Ohio feeds on phosphorus, a key element of livestock manure and sewage. Much of the phosphorus that gets into the lake comes from the Maumee River, which flows through eastern Indiana and western Ohio, depositing its waters into the western part of Lake Erie near Toledo.
Manure and sewage wash from soil and into the rivers and streams that feed the Maumee. More rains mean more runoff.
“From a scientific standpoint it’s fascinating,” Odell says. “From a sea life and human health view point, it’s pretty scary. Because it’s so big and it’s so toxic and it’s not really giving sea life a chance.”
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