But as rising ocean temperatures threaten to make fishery closures routine, it will be even harder to count on crab for holiday meals—or livelihoods. Over the past decade, warming sea waters have produced harmful algal blooms that contaminate crab meat with domoic acid, a neurotoxin that can cause seizures, memory loss and other serious symptoms and has been blamed for poisoning and stranding scores of sea lions in California every year. State officials delayed three out of the last six crab seasons to protect public health after an unprecedented multiyear marine heat wave, dubbed “the blob,” hit the north Pacific Ocean in 2013.
Domoic Acid Poisoning
Since the beginning of April, Julia Parker has seen 216 sick pelagic birds come into the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network. There were only four in February, and three in March. Of those 216, mostly loons, grebes, and murres, only 65 survived long enough to be transferred to the International Bird Rescue center in San Pedro. Many more have been found dead on nearby beaches.
NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle has mobilized extra scientists to join a fisheries survey along the West Coast to chart an extensive harmful algal bloom that spans much of the West Coast and has triggered numerous closures… Read More ›
MORRO BAY, Calif. – Packed with large nets, wooden boards and a large crate, a dark blue truck scoured the edges of surfer-lined Pismo Beach late one morning earlier this month. Onlookers in the distance tipped them off to what… Read More ›
Editor’s Note: Another unusual rash of marine mammals have beached themselves requiring rescue operations along the Pacific coastline. Along the north coast of California, the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, reports 429 pinniped rescues as of early May 2014,… Read More ›
April 30, 2014 SANTA CRUZ, Calif. —A new health warning has been issued urging people to not eat certain parts of anchovy, sardines, or crab caught in the Monterey Bay. Health officials said they are too toxic and can be… Read More ›
By Megan Gannon LiveScience Scientists still don’t know why nearly 1,300 sickly sea lions have beached themselves on the shores of southern California since the beginning of the year. However, they think some weird oceanic phenomenon may be blocking off… Read More ›
A Record Year for California Sea Lion Rescues By Bette Bardeen Courtesy of Central Coast Natural History Association Nature Notes http://www.ccnha.org The California Central Coast has seen an increased number of beach visitors this year, and not all are happy… Read More ›