Archive | April 20, 2014

Major power outage caused by fire affecting thousands in Gibraltar

Power Outage Alert

An explosion and fire at a power station in Gibraltar left a large part of the British peninsula bordering southern Spain without electricity on Sunday, police said.

A huge cloud of dark smoke hovered over a residential part of the territory, but no injuries were reported.

Gibraltar police said on their Twitter feed that there was “no need to evacuate” but advised residents to keep their windows shut.

The nearby offices of an online sports betting firm were evacuated, an AFP reporter said, adding that its services were down.

Police ruled out foul play, surmising that a generator caught fire because of a mechanical fault before exploding.


***URGENT ALERT***Summary For 2014 – 219 Animal Mass Death Events In 48 Countries

Summary For 2014 – 219 Animal Mass Death Events In 48 Countries

BILLIONS of Honeybees dead due to pesticides in California, America

Beekeeper checking hives placed in an almond orchard. AP Photo

Commercial beekeepers who flood California’s almond orchards with nearly 2 million hives every March have lost 25 percent of their colonies to chemical sprays and they are blaming loose regulations for the injury and deaths of an estimated 17 billion bees.

The crisis, which robbed the beekeepers of at least $106 million, is expected to slam subsequent crops that need honeybee pollination from the commercial beekeepers including much of the nation’s fruits and vegetables such as apples, blueberries and squash.

“The enormity of this massacre is mind-numbing, and it will be felt all season long all across the U.S.,” said Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine, the industry journal.

He told Secrets that the beekeepers are threatening to stop trucking their bees to orchards and vegetable fields, or charge a big “pesticide surcharge” to cover losses. He revealed the kill-off in his “Catch the Buzz” column.

“That beekeepers are no longer willing to make these sacrifices – no matter the fees charged or prices paid – is not only not a surprise, but should be reason enough for EPA and almond growers to pay attention to not what the chemical labels say, but what common sense dictates. DON’T SPRAY BEES WITH ANYTHING, EVER!” Flottum emailed Secrets.

Beekeepers have been urging the EPA to tighten restrictions on pesticides. They prefer spraying at night when bees are back in the hives, or no spraying at all.

The EPA has focused on the issue and believes the labels on approved chemicals are adequate. It has also moved to improve labels on pesticides to save bees and encouraged farmers to limit sprays so they don’t spread in the wind. What’s more, they can’t police how farmers handle pesticides.

The Department of Agriculture is also spending $3 million to improve pastures in the midwest used by bees. Overall, bees are responsible for pollinating $15 billion worth of produce each year.

In the California case, the farmers claim they followed the approved chemical labeling and still the bees were hurt or killed.

According to the Pollinator Stewardship Council, a bee advocate group, the spray used in the almond fields resulted in “dead adult bees, and dead, dying, and deformed brood.” A poll of 75 beekeepers found that 80,000 of their colonies were damaged, 75 percent of them severely.

Overall, said the council, about 1.7 million hives supplied by 1,300 commercial beekeepers were used to pollinate the almonds. Some 25 percent or up to 425,000 colonies, were severely damaged or killed. Each hive has some 40,000 or more bees.

The colony deaths were so large for some beekeepers that they don’t plan to return to the almond fields next year.

“What happens in almonds doesn’t stay in almonds,” said Flottum.

He added that the loss of bees involved in pollinating also hurt the practice of using hives expanded during their stay in almond orchards to make new hives and sell to big and hobby beekeepers, likely resulting in a bee shortage this summer.

MILLIONS of dead fish found floating in Thondamanaru Lagoon, Sri Lanka

Shoal of fish, may be a couple of million – our reporter lost count of it, were seen dead floating and lying in the shores of Thondamanaru and around the Barrage area located in the Valvetiturai Kankesanthurai Road.

Mysteriously all those dead fishes found in Thondamanaru Lagoon area were almost one kind which in Tamil called “Thirali,” a typical edible small fish found solely in Palk Strait area.

These fishes were said to be dead and floating and were seen in heaps in the shore from last Thursday and Friday.

As the dead fishes started polluting the Selva Sannathi Temple area, Karaveddy Divisional Secretary K. Sivasri, Valvetiturai Urban Council Chairman N.Anandarajah and representatives of the Fisheries Societies visited the area and took measures to remove dead fishes.

Asian Tribune learnt the Sri Lankan Army personnel were also involved in the cleaning operation along with workers of Valvetitural and Valikamam East Pradesha Sabhas.

Three tractor loads of dead fishes were collected and taken and buried around the sea shores in Thondamanaru.

It remains mysterious why particularly Thirali fish only died.

According to an opinion, due to very warm atmospheric conditions prevailing these days, the sea water must have evaporated to a great leve and the water might have turned more brackish and fishes would not be able to bear up saltiness newly developed in the sea water.

Hundreds of dead fish found washed up along Chautauqua Lake, New York, America

Hundreds of dead fish have been discovered along Bemus Point on Chautauqua Lake. 

With the ice melting off the lake, westerly winds began washing many of the floating, dead fish onto the shoreline Friday evening, piling up the silvery bodies in front of cabins and onto beaches. By Saturday evening the numbers had increased into the hundreds and were of some concern. 

Local authorities surmise the dead fish have succumbed to what is termed a “winter fish kill.”

Though the numbers are significant, they are not deemed to be any danger to the public health, more of a smelly nuisance. Opinions on how to dispose of the fish have been varied. Some proposed just leaving the fish for the coons and gulls.

With the temperatures still cool, the fish have not yet presented a problem. When the weather warms and decomposition begins, the smell cannot help but become of concern. A single dead fish can produce a strong odor; hundreds of rotting fish could well become unbearable.

Local residents can’t recall a fish kill like this other than the carp virus epidemic years back. Debbie Loomis, whose lakefront property has been in the family for over 100 years, has never seen as many white bass, perch, crappies and bass die off in such numbers before.

The Department of Environmental Conversation feels the best solution for those concerned with the dead fish in front of their homes and cottages should be to bury them or take them to a landfill. 

Scott Cornett, fishery biologist for the DEC, said, “Take them to the landfill. The birds, gulls and other scavengers will clean them up fairly quickly, but if they are worried about them right away: bury.”

Residents are concerned about transporting numbers of dead fish in their cars for obvious reasons. Others suggested having county prisoners put to work cleaning up the mess and transporting the fish to the landfill in county work trucks.

Officials feel the winter kill was caused by the extremely cold weather and the thick ice depths the below-zero temperatures created. Fish living in shallower bays can become trapped by the thick ice. The water’s depth shrinks as the ice freezes ever thicker ,trapping the fish between three feet of ice and the bottom. Decaying vegetation further depletes the oxygen levels and the fish suddenly find themselves in perilous circumstances.

Officials didn’t believe any type of disease, spill or pollution was to blame for the kill. However, in order to test for disease the fish would have to be alive.

Though hundreds, possibly thousands of fish have died, the great majority have been white perch, one of the most numerous fish species in the lake. There are so many white perch in Chautauqua Lake that far more would have to have died to make any significant impact on their population, according to the DEC.

Thousands of dead fish wash up at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore

Thousands of dead grey mullet, a popular farmed fish, washed up at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve yesterday, startling visitors there.

In the afternoon, as the high tide went out, dead fish brought in by the tide were left along river banks, though native halfbeak fish in the Sungei Buloh Besar river seemed unaffected.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority also said Singapore’s coastal fish farms in the western Johor Strait had not been hit by die-offs, and no plankton blooms or any abnormalities had been detected.

The agency cautioned it would take enforcement action against farms found to be illegally dumping farm waste into the water.

Hundreds of dead fish found in a lake ‘baffles biologists’ in Virginia, America

Richmond biologists are busy trying to figure out what killed a certain type of fish at Fountain Lake in Byrd Park. There have been fish kills at the lake before, but biologists say this incident is unusual.

On Thursday, Douglyne Wallace was out for a walk and 9-year-old Alexander Rizzi was feeding the geese. Only a few feet away were dozens of dead fish.

“Just to see them floating kind of bothers me a little bit,” said Wallace.

“It makes me feel like scared,” said Rizzi. “Because you can see dead fish, it’s like very weird.”

A biologist with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says the fish had been dead about 24 hours before the fish kill was reported. Biologists say only the blue gills are dead and they don’t know why, but they do have some theories.

“Some of the water samples showed the pH, the acidity level, was unusually high which indicates some kind of problem in the water,” said Bill Hayden with the DEQ.

Biologists are looking to see if something toxic was dumped in the water. They say since a specific fish was killed, it’s unlikely that is a factor.

The DEQ says a biologist also found an algae bloom, which could affect the amount of oxygen in the water. Hayden says fish kills usually happen after a string of warm days, which makes this incident unusual.

“It happened right after we have a really warm spell than a cold spell, so we don’t if that had some kind of impact on the fish as well,” says Hayden.

Right now there are more questions than answers, but Hayden says the strongest indicator is there’s something wrong with the water.

The DEQ says the City of Richmond is in charge of cleaning up the dead fish.

Hundreds of chickens dead from disease in Bodden Town, Cayman Islands

Hundreds of chickens that were regularly seen around the Mission House neighborhood have died of botulism. Pedro Watler, seen here feeding the chickens in 2012, says they have been dropping dead over the past two weeks. - PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY

More than 400 feral chickens in Bodden Town have died of botulism, according to a post-mortem examination carried out by the Department of Agriculture. 

The birds began dying more than two weeks ago, residents in the area said.  

Brian Crichlow of the Department of Agriculture said a post-mortem exam on one of the birds revealed botulism. The bird was also tested for avian flu, with negative results.  

Mr. Crichlow said botulism is not spread by direct contact with affected chickens, but there is a “low potential for spreading to humans and other animals through consumption of dead chickens” contaminated with the botulism toxin. 

Botulism is a micro-organism that occurs naturally in the soil and in decaying flesh. Since chickens are scavengers, they likely ate a dead animal and got sick, said Mr. Crichlow. 

The Department of Environmental Health was expected to begin removing the birds from the site, near the Bodden Town Mission House, on Wednesday afternoon, according to the department’s director, Roydell Carter. 

“We are aware of the situation. We were notified by the Department of Agriculture about it. We went on site today [Wednesday] and we will be assisting them in getting the birds removed and disinfecting the area,” he said. 

“We’re putting together the resources we need – there are so many [dead chickens] all over the place … We will go in and help. There could probably be public health implications as well [if the carcasses are not removed]. We don’t want all these dead birds lying around … where other animals might feed on their carcasses,” he added. 

On Wednesday, many of the dead chickens could be seen around the Mission House and Harry McCoy Park, and under the home of an elderly couple nearby. 

Mr. Crichlow advised that if the dead or dying birds are not removed and disposed of properly, other chickens will feed on the carcasses and the maggots from the dead chickens, leading to more chickens contracting botulism. 

Botulism is also known as “limberneck,” he said, reflecting the neck paralysis typically seen in affected birds. 

Pedro Watler, son of the couple under whose home many of the decaying carcasses were seen, said he had picked up as many as he could, but those under the house would have to stay there until he had help removing them. 

“The chickens just get crippled, lie down and die,” said Mr. Watler, who often fed the chickens. For the past two weeks, the chickens have been “dropping off like flies,” he said. 

The feral chickens roam the neighborhood and are considered pests by many in the area. 

Mr. Crichlow said there had been no reports of domestic flocks of chickens owned by local farmers being affected by botulism. 

However, he said the department had seen similar episodes before of local wild chickens dying, adding that botulism is common in feral chickens in Cayman and elsewhere. Over the past two years, his department has responded to deaths of feral chickens in George Town, West Bay and Bodden Town districts, he said. 

Karen Rosenthal, a St. Matthews Veterinary School veterinarian who studies birds, said, “It is not so easy for people to get botulism the same way chickens do. But you would never eat the eggs or meat from a chicken with botulism,” she said. “What we should worry about is if the people are using the same water source as the dead birds.” 

Kiran Kumar, medical officer of health at the public health department, said botulism from dead chickens does not spread to human beings through the air, and there is also no evidence of it spreading to humans by consumption of chickens with botulism. However, he advised against eating infected chickens to “prevent any rarest possibility of such occurrence.” 

46,000 birds dead due to avian flu in Pyongyang, North Korea

16.04.14 Bird Deaths In N Korea

Information received on 16/04/2014 from Mr Ri Kyong Gun, Director of the Veterinary and, Ministry of Agriculture, Anti-Epizootic Department, PYONGYANG, Korea (Dem. People’s Rep.)

Thousands of dead fish appear in the Salado river in Mexico

Thousands of dead fish appeared overnight at the Salt River, which happened to have its clean and clear waters, green and with a strong smell of rotten.

Producers Association filed Rio Salado Conagua a written complaint for fear that “someone” has launched its waters some chemical or pollutant.

Trinidad Benavides, president of irrigation users Salado River, said on Tuesday 8 April, one of his farm workers reported that the water was greenish, because Sunday was still clean and almost crystalline.

“The worker saw that the water had changed color. There were lots of dead fish and scavengers were feasting, “said Benavides.

The contaminated water was detected in the Rancho Santa Cecilia and La Trinidad, and on Wednesday, had reached La Coma, about five miles downstream. Farmers and producers decided to stop irrigating pastures for cattle, for fear of causing ecological damage.

“We do not know how it could affect domestic and wild species of this region, the main trough are the waters of this river (Salado),” Benavides, who did get a letter to Carlos Torres Rodriguez, Chief Operating and Conservation Districts expressed Irrigation 004 and 005 based in Ciudad Anahuac, Nuevo Leon.

Farmers and producers fear that the contaminated water to reach further progress Falcon Dam, it is international.

Since the area was detected as contaminated and to the Falcon, at least there are 50 ranches.

Yesterday, they ruled that a contaminant has been dragged into the Salado River, because there have been no heavy rains.

This is the second time that a phenomenon of this kind is recorded. In 2012 there was a similar case where the water turned greenish and strong smells, but this time the contamination began about four miles west of State Road.