Black Sea ecologists alarmed by rising number of dolphin deaths
June 5, 2012 – BLACK SEA – Hardly a day goes by in Sochi, Russia’s picturesque Black Sea resort, without a dead dolphin washing up on the beach. With the tourist season just kicking off, the unexplained deaths have yet to draw much scrutiny. But environmentalists are increasingly alarmed.
The dolphin carcasses are also turning into a real holiday spoiler for vacationers drawn to the region’s scenic beaches and pristine vistas. Russian tourist Aida Kobzh was shocked to discover a group of dead dolphins last week at her local beach in Sochi. “Everyone stood there and stared at the dead little dolphins lying belly up. Poor creatures!” Kobzh says. “There were some on the beach but also in the water, they were floating there, dead.”
The dolphins started washing up along Russia’s Black Sea coast several weeks ago. They have also been spotted on Ukrainian shores. Environmentalists are now talking about the biggest dolphin die-off to date in the region, with an estimated 300 animals dead so far.
Local authorities have made no serious attempt to investigate the deaths, saying the animals are too decayed by the time they reach the shore for laboratory tests to be conducted. Officials have blamed poachers and fishing nets. They say the unusually cold winter has driven dolphins from the Sea of Azov to the warmer Black Sea.
Some experts, like local zoologist Konstantin Andramonov, point to a possible killer virus. “The death toll is constantly growing, unfortunately,” Andramonov says. “We are now witnessing the same in Ukraine. There is a hypothesis that we are dealing with an infectious disease that occurs roughly every 20 years.”
Most experts, however, believe the real culprit is ever-increasing pollution in the Black Sea region. “If sea creatures that are adapted to life in the sea react this way, what will the consequences be for humans?” Noskovets says. “Every year, numerous people suffer poisoning incidents after bathing in the sea, and these are always blamed on food poisoning. It is a nasty lie from our authorities, who are afraid of telling the truth — that the Black Sea is simply being poisoned.”
Apocalyptic fish kill reported off the coast of Ohara Japan in Chiba Prefecture
June 6, 2012 – JAPAN – Something terribly fishy is going on at the fishing port of Ohara (pronounced Oh-hara) in Isumi City of Chiba Prefecture, and it has nothing to do with espionage or political corruption. There are tons and tons of dead sardines washing up on the shore, and not only is the sight disturbing, but the huge amount of dead fish is literally smelling up the entire surrounding area.
According to the news, the dead fish started washing up around noon of June 3rd, and as of early afternoon on June 4th, the situation still remained pretty much out of control. The amount of dead sardines that has washed up is thought to total several dozen metrics tons, so you can imagine how bad the smell of rotting fish must be. We’ve seen the pictures uploaded onto Twitter, and the port looks completely filled with fish – it almost looks like a carpet of sardines.
It doesn’t seem likely that any fishing boats will be setting sail from this port soon. There are also, of course, the usual posts and comments on the internet on how this could be an omen, a sign of a coming great natural disaster. When we inquired with a local inn, we were told that the port was scheduled to be closed from June 1st to 5th, but given the emergency, local fishermen are currently out in full force trying to resolve the situation.
Already more than 2 full days into the bizarre occurrence, the smell has to be almost unbearable, but the people of Ohara still have no idea when they will be able to get rid of all the sardines. We sincerely hope they will be able to solve the problem quickly.
10,000 fish die from unknown cause in Missouri’s Blue Springs Lake
June 8, 2012 – BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – Missouri conservationists are trying to solve a mystery in an area lake. What started as a couple dozen dead carp turned into more than 10,000 in Blue Springs Lake. Conservationists took water samples and couldn’t figure out exactly what caused the deaths. Their samples have now gone onto a national lab for further analysis. Between 500 and 1,000 carp have been killed everyday. Jake Allman, a biologist with the Missouri Conservation, started noticing carp with lesions under their scales the last few weeks. “There’s a little bacterium on the fish, but not enough to really have caused this,” Allman said. “This feeding activity where they are brushing up against each other can actually spread whatever is making them sick.” If Allman had his way, this kill would only continue. “Their spawning activity disrupts spawning of other fish. They root around in the shallows and uproot aquatic vegetation which is beneficial to native fish,” Allman explained. But it seems the carp are now starting to recover. Lake officials are now keeping an eye on the E. coli levels in the water. They had to close a swimming area during Memorial Day Weekend because of a threat of E. Coli from of all the dead fish.
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