A local California fisherwoman just caught one of the biggest hauls of fish in her life – just not the type she was expecting. In her nets, she brought up hundreds of thousands of dead anchovies near Santa Cruz, CA. This is now the third major fish die-off along California coastlines in two weeks. The cause? Pollution? Fukushima? Mass extinction from the enormous plastic garbage patch still circulating off the West coast? It’s anyone’s guess, but it is certainly not a ‘natural’ occurrence.
Trudie Ransom’s dead fish catch promoted local officials to close part of the harbor where she docks her boat.
Locals say it isn’t unusual, but it is the third of its kind in weeks, which definitely is not common.
“It’s kind of a natural occurrence that happens from time to time,” said John Haynes, acting harbormaster. “With the sheer number of anchovies we had in the bay this year, we had an idea it might happen, but we did everything we could.”
Unsafe bacteria levels were found in the harbor recently, but this incident is not relegated to just California. Starfish are also dying from California all the way up to Alaska, and scientists don’t know why. The Alaska Dispatch has also reported scores of dead and sick ringed seals, some with open wounds, unusual hair loss, and internal ulcers. These are all indicative of radiation poisoning.
The die-off is the third in three weeks. On July 18, thousands of white croakers washed up on Manresa State Beach. On July 25, scores of dead anchovies washed onto the beach at Capitola near Esplanade Park.
Despite Stanford scientists warning that we might see this sort of damage both near the Daiichi site and elsewhere as the radiation poured into the ocean and was washed to other parts of the world with ocean currents, there has been a lack of radiation sampling up and down this coastline where mass animal deaths are occurring.
The most recent tests showed no radiation off the coast of Oregon, but this doesn’t account for deep-sea-life. Levels in Hawaii have already tested high.
“We’ve seen radiation halfway across the Pacific, north of Hawaii, but in U.S. waters there has been none, yet,” Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution senior scientist Ken Buesseler said.
It’s possible that the combination of low-levels of radiation accompanied with general pollution in our ocean waters is causing the die-offs. More attention should certainly be paid to the unusual amount of sea-life falling prey to the bad habits of humans.
You can see from pictures presented by National Geographic just how polluted this precious eco-system really is, and why it’s so important to investigate further.