Archive | May 21, 2014

Hundreds of fish dying off ‘due to pollution’ in the wetlands of Rewalsar, India

Hundreds of fish dying in Himachal wetlands
Hundreds of fish have died in Rewalsar wetlands near here in the past three days due to water toxicity, posing a serious threat to other aquatic fauna too, say wildlife experts.

Located about 24km from Mandi, the Rewalsar wetlands, which were included in the list of wetlands of national importance by the ministry of environment and forests in 2005, have religious and ecological importance.

“The main cause of the fish mortality is water contamination. Last year also a large number of fish died,” director of the fisheries department Gurcharan Singh told IANS on Thursday.

He said over-feeding of the fish by the people due to religious sentiments was also responsible for the deaths.

A monastery, a gurdwara and a temple are located on the banks of the wetlands. Devotees, especially Buddhists, feed the aquatic creatures.

Locals say hundreds of dead fish have been spotted floating on the waters.

Studies conducted by the Himachal State Council for Science, Technology and Environment reveal the Rewalsar wetlands are under strain due to pollution, siltation, encroachment and overgrowth of weeds.

Over the years, the depth of the wetlands has reduced drastically. Weeds also cover a major portion of the water body.

Experts say pollution depletes dissolved oxygen in water, suffocating the aquatic organisms.

They say the government should impose a ban on feeding the aquatic creatures as most of the starchy items are not eaten by the fish, which often results in pollution and growth of harmful micro-organism in the water body.

“Rapid urbanisation and development activities near the wetlands have also put tremendous pressure on the water body,” said a biologist.

He said most of the septic tanks, constructed around the water body, don’t adhere to specific standards resulting in the seepage of pollutants into the wetlands.

Officials of the fisheries department said the water body was “overcrowded” with aquatic creatures. They said selective harvesting of the fish was the only solution.

The harvesting is not carried out due to religious sentiments, said an official.

11,000 head of cattle dead ‘due to snowfall’ in Subei, China

11,000 head of cattle dead ‘due to snowfall’ in Subei, China

Thousands of dead fish washing ashore in Cootes Paradise, Hamilton, Canada

Fish Kill Alert

Thousands of dead fish washing up on shore at Princess Point are apparently a sign of improvement for Cootes Paradise.

Thousands of gizzard shad (a type of herring) have appeared there over the past couple weeks. The fish feed off algae and are often meals for other fish in the marsh. Most people don’t even know they’re there, says Tys Theysmeyer, the Royal Botanical Gardens’ head of natural lands.

And while their death is not a good thing, Theysmeyer says the fact that people are even noticing the carcasses means the species is growing in number.

“In the old days they never got big enough for this to happen,” he says. “I actually would call it a sign of a recovering environment.”

Theysmeyer said Environment Canada and the Ministry of Natural Resources have been informed of the fish deaths.

That being said, he acknowledges there are still several environmental issues that need to be addressed in the marsh, like erosion and sewage making its way in.

As it is primarily this single species of fish that is dying, he suspects the cause of death is likely a breed-specific disease. That and partly just a natural spring occurrence.

“I’m not of the feeling there was a special chemical or anything dumped in,” he says.

INFO: 650 Sea Lion pups have stranded during past couple of months on shores of California, America

Another 650 sea lion pups have washed up on the shores of California between San Diego and Ventura County in the last two months, emaciated and dehydrated, continuing a pattern of devastation from early last year.

A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) all but eliminates disease as a cause of the problem that saw another 1,600 pups stranded on beaches between January and April last year. While it does not settle on a single culprit, the report points a long finger at the decline of sardines in the region, a primary source of nourishment for sea lions.

“Current data show changes in availability of sea lion prey in Southern California waters was likely a contributor to the UME, the exact mechanism is still under investigation,” the report concluded. In other words, the NOAA doesn’t know precisely why the sardines are harder to find. Could be climate change, or ocean pollution, natural selection, or disease taking advantage of sea lions’ weakened state.

It’s probably a bit of all of the above, but the folks at Oceana, an international ocean conservation organization, don’t think the most obvious reason is hard to figure out. The sardine population is collapsing because of overfishing, they say, and the NOAA is going out of its way to avoid admitting that conclusion. Instead, the agency is emphasizing its rehab effort to save the stranded pups while continuing its studies of the cause.

“Sea lions are dying due to starvation and NOAA appears to be addressing it by spending money on rehab, but they are allowing continued overfishing,” Oceana reported. “They are rehabilitating starving sea lions and then putting them back into a sardine starved ocean.”

NOAA scientists published a major study in 2012 warning that collapse of the sardine population was imminent and following the same patterns that occurred during the historic collapse of the sardine fishery in the 1950s. That debacle put an end to the famous Cannery Row era. The report noted that “exploitation rates” of sardine stocks have increased dramatically since 2006 and in 2010 hit the rate at which horrible things happen.  

NOAA has declared the sea lion situation an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). The agency has declared only 57 UMEs in the U.S. since 1991. The agency’s sardine stock assessment (pdf) in March 2014 found sardine populations had collapsed 74% since 2007 with no evidence of recovery in sight.

Oceana summed up the NOAA policy thusly: “In other words, NOAA’s pattern is to first deny a population collapse while continuing fishing, then once it has collapsed, blame events other than fishing.”

Lisa Harper Henderson at the Marine Mammal Center told NBC affiliate KSBY that the practical effect of shifting sardine populations is that they have moved farther off the coast, swim at deeper depths and are harder to find by sea lions. “So when they end up on our shores, they’re weak, lethargic and sometimes injured,” she said. Not to mention hungry.

California sea lions range from the Pacific coast of Central Mexico to British Columbia, Canada. The estimated population of California sea lions as of 2011 was 296,750, with an annual increase of 5.4%. The main breeding areas are on islands located in Southern California, western Baja California and the Gulf of California.

Sardines are a key food group for animals other than sea lions. Seals, elephant seals and humpback whales, many of which are also found along the Channel Islands, chow down on the fatty little fish. The numbers and locations of sardines and other pelagic fish, including anchovies, market squid, rock fish and hag, fluctuate a lot, making specific assessments difficult during any brief time period.

But the sardine decline is not some brief event and the sea lion devastation is not ecological business as usual.

Tens of thousands of dead fish wash up along coast of Tasmania, Australia

Supplied photos.

AUTHORITIES are investigating how tens of thousands of fish washed up along the East Coast during the past week.

Species include leatherjackets, flathead, salmon and one broadbill swordfish.

Break O’Day councillor John McGiveron, Tasmanian Game Fishing Association president, said the fish, some still alive, had washed up along the coast from Seymour to the top end of the Bay of Fires.

But he said the issue might be more widespread because fish might be washing up in unpopulated areas.

Cr McGiveron said many of the fish were juveniles and the problem might have serious implications.

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment is investigating.

Mass death of fish in the river Eden ‘is a mystery’ in Cumbria, England

Mystery over mass fish death in River Eden

THE Environment Agency has launched an investigation following the death of fish in lakes near Hever Park Golf Club and the River Eden.

Officers are currently raising oxygen levels at Bough Beech in Edenbridge to try and reduce the impact on the fish.

On its Twitter page, the Environment Agency stated it had launched a probe into “fish kill” in lakes adjacent to the gold club and River Eden.

Agency officials are urging anybody who is aware of other issues in the area to call 0800 807060.

This latest incident comes a day after hundreds of fish were found dead at a scenic pond in Southborough. The two cases are not linked.

Tens of thousands of dead fish found in a river in New Jersey, America

Footage shows scores of dead fish in Belmar, NJ on May 12, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

Possibly tens of thousands of fish have died in Belmar, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said.

Footage from Chopper 2 showed thousands of dead fish in Shark River near the docks in Belmar on Monday.

The DEP believes the fish kill is a result of natural causes, the remnants of a massive influx that came into the estuary overnight, CBS 2′s Lou Young reported.

“They were here last night. Biggest School I’ve ever seen,” fishing boat captain George Stella said.

Initially, heavy rains were thought to be the cause of the massive kill.

Recent heavy rains were believed to have caused the water to churn, stirring up the sediment at the bottom of the river, the DEP told CBS 2. This could have caused algae to bloom after recent warm weather. The algae could have starved the water of oxygen, resulting in the death of the fish, the DEP said. However, that scenario now seems less likely as subsequent testing determined that oxygen levels in the water were normal, and no algae or chemicals were found.

The DEP also said that it was possible that a large school of the fish migrated into the area. The fish may have done so in close proximity to each other in a small estuary, deprived each other of oxygen, and suffocated.

Local fisherman told CBS 2′s Young that they have seen this kind of thing before.

“Every 20 or 30 years you’ll see something like this happen. It can be attributed to the amount of bunker in the area right now,” Nick Caruso said.

“The blues and striped bass come by and chase them and they come here and run out of oxygen,” Stella added.

“It is very alarming when we see something like this,” Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty told WCBS 880′s Steve Scott. “And right now, we’re cleaning up what’s here, and we’re still trying to find out what the source of this fish kill is.

“They’re coming up the docks,” Doherty added. “They’re coming up on the beaches. And they’re coming in through our marina as well.”

“It’s not uncommon for this to happen to them,” Hajna told WCBS 880. “You don’t like it to happen, but likely, this combination of natural causes is what did it.

“Most important, no public health or safety concern here,” Hajna added.

Footage shows scores of dead fish in Belmar, NJ on May 12, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

New Jerseyans couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

“For two hours straight, there were millions and millions of fish that were coming out of the river when the tide had changed,” Jesse Thomas, who works at Fisherman’s Den, a bait and tackle shop, told 1010 WINS.

“You would think it would affect all the fish, but I don’t know what it is,” Drew Brandle told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan.

“I’ve never seen it in this river before, anything like this. Never,” Bob Matthews, who also works at Fisherman’s Den told WCBS 880. “I’ve heard of it, and I know it’s happened a lot of other places.”

On Monday night, crews were working to clean up the fish in an effort to keep the problem contained to the inlet.

“After awhile they are going to start decaying, the belly is going to blow, they’re going to come to the surface and then it’s going to be a stink fest down there,” Joe Zaleski said.

Workers have carted off what they can, but some fish are sinking and the bottom of the river has become coated with carcasses. Thus far the absence of any stench has been attributed to cold water and an initially healthy bunker population.

Officials have taken samples of fish and will test them before making an official determination on the cause.

The good news, if any, to come out of this the presence of bunker in large numbers means that their main predators are close by creating good striper fishing along the Shore.

Thousands of dead Puffer Fish, also dead turtles washing up on various beaches in Colombia and Costa Rica

Thousands of dead Puffer Fish, also dead turtles washing up on various beaches in Colombia and Costa Rica
Fish Kill Alert

Millions of Bees dead in ‘worst winter die off’ in Pennsylvania, America

The beekeepers who gathered recently inside the social hall of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Edinboro shared a common story.

One by one, the 65 beekeepers talked about the harsh toll the frigid winter took on their bee colonies, and how a late start to spring has delayed the blooming of dandelions — depriving bees of one of their first sources of nectar and starving them to death.

The consensus at the meeting of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association was about 50 percent of everyone’s honeybees died during the colder-than-usual winter. Normally, the winter die-off would be about 20 percent.

“I’ve never seen a winter like this one in regards to bee losses,” said Charlie Vorisek, president of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association. He told the group that he lost 67 of his 135 hives — resulting in the death of 530,000 honeybees.

The above-average bee die-off means locally produced honey is scarce and more expensive. Mr. Vorisek, for instance, has raised prices about 50 cents a pound.

“A lot of other guys are sold-out,” said Mr. Vorisek, 59, who has been a beekeeper in Linesville for the past 24 years.

Fewer bees also mean less pollination in cherry and apple orchards, and crops that feed dairy cows. Mr. Vorisek said he expects to see higher prices for fruits, vegetables and almonds in local markets.

He recently surveyed the more than 800 members in the state’s beekeeper association about the winter die-off. The study is continuing, he said, but so far about 200 responses have showed 41 percent of colony losses statewide.

Charles Schroeck considers himself lucky.

The longtime Millcreek Township beekeeper went into the winter with 12 colonies of honeybees. Eleven survived.

“I expected this spring would be a disaster. This has been the coldest winter since I’ve been keeping bees,” said Mr. Schroeck, 69, a beekeeper for 34 years. “I was pleasantly surprised.”

Mr. Schroeck, who teaches beekeeping at Asbury Woods Nature Center in Millcreek, said his bees have less exposure to pesticides found in agricultural areas that weaken bees.

He also fed his bees in the fall. It was a rich, syrupy mixture of sugar and water, something he’s never given them in the past. Mr. Schroeck lost eight of his 12 hives last winter, and figured he’d experiment with the fall feeding.

Bee populations in recent years have already been devastated by the mysterious colony collapse disorder, the cause of which is still unidentified by researchers. But this winter and spring, beekeepers dealt with a different dilemma.

On Monday morning, temperatures dipped into the low 30s at Mr. Vorisek’s Backyard Bee Farm, 15834 Linesville Road, in Crawford County. The beekeeper also operates a roadside stand on his 2.5-acre property, where he sells a dozen varieties of honey, and skin products, candles and lip balm all made of beeswax.

Mr. Vorisek saw frost covering the windows of his car and glistening off the grass.

He surveyed his hives. The bees that survived the winter have begun laying eggs and rebuilding the population. They’ll do that through this month and into June. But there also were clusters of dead bees inside the hives.

They were stuck in small spots due to the extreme, persistent cold — unable to move around inside the hive, even though the hive still held honey they could have eaten — and eventually froze to death.

Hundreds of dead fish found in a pond is ‘a mystery’ in Southborough, England

Mystery is surrounding the death of hundreds of fish at a scenic pond in Southborough.

Hundreds of fish are lying motionless at the top of Holden Pond in Holden Road with others flailing around struggling to swim.

It is unknown what has caused the scores of fish to die but there are currently works taking place on the edge of the pond, which is located to the south of Southborough Common.

One person the Courier spoke to said there were no signs about what work was going on and neighbours were upset that the fish were suffering.

When the Courier went down to the pond on Sunday afternoon there were also large carp and a swan that seemed to be in distress.

The water is designated as a fishing pond and was the focus of a clean-up campaign eight years ago.