Twelve more turtles have been discovered dead at Misery Bay Provincial Park as the research into the mass turtle death at the park, which was discovered last year, continues.
“As of November 2013, Ontario Park ecologists found 59 dead turtles: 49 Blandings turtles plus 10 painted turtles,” Dr. Jacqueline Litzgus, a professor and herpetologist (a researcher who studies amphibians and reptiles) in the Department of Biology at Laurentian University, told The Expositor.
“This year they have found seven more dead Blandings turtles, four more painted turtles and one snapping turtle.”
As The Expositor previously reported, Ontario Parks ecologists Anna Sheppard and Ed Mooris discovered dead turtles throughout April and May 2013 at Misery Bay Provincial Park while working on radio-tracking turtle movements, habitat and behaviour.
The park ecologists contacted Dr. Litzgus, who worked with Andrea Mendler, a fourth-year Laurentian forensic studies student, to try and determine the cause of the turtle population decline.
Ms. Mendler presented her thesis at the end of their study this spring titled ‘The Murder Mystery at Misery Bay,’ which looked at several different theories, but presented inconclusive results.
Among these theories were the presence of the ranavirus (rana means frog)—an emerging infectious disease that is one of the global causes for amphibian decline—and predation.
This spring, Friends of Misery Bay (FOMB) received $80,000 in funding over two years, in conjunction with Laurentian University, from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Species at Risk Stewardship Fund to pay a masters of science student and field assistant to further investigate the death of the Misery Bay turtles.
Living and working in Misery Bay for this summer (and next) are masters of science student Donnell Gasbarrini and field assistant Amber Kolodzik who will be further studying the Misery Bay turtle population and exploring theories such as the ranavirus, predation and turtle hibernation.
The two students, who have been at the park since May, monitor the turtles daily––with 10 males and eight female turtles equipped with radio transmitters––recording where they travel, their activities, their hibernation patterns and taking blood tests.
“The good news is that in 2013 there were 30 live Blandings turtles, and so far for 2014 they have found 32 live Blandings turtles, 19 of which are the same ones from last year, but 13 brand new ones,” said Dr. Litzgus. “I can’t imagine how large the population was before the turtle deaths.”
“To test the predation theory, Donnell has set up two fake Blandings turtles, which are made of foam rubber, at the park with a trail camera on them,” continued Dr. Litzgus. “Since mammals use their sense of smell to hunt, she is trying to make the turtles smell more natural by dunking them in turtle urine. So far the trail camera has only picked up a Canada goose, but hopefully the cameras will provide images of predators or other animals that interact with the decoys.”
“There was a recent posting on the Ontario Parks blog where a biologist noted that the Blandings turtle is an umbrella species, meaning that if you protect them then you protect the many other species that live in the same habitat,” add Dr. Litzgus. “This poses the question: ‘What does this mean (the turtles deaths) for the other species?’ which is another reason why the research being done on this issue is so important.”
Judith Oakley says she wandered around remote Pwll Du Bay in disbelief, “There were dead small sharks strewn across the strandline, sand and amongst the rocks. I counted 55 and have never seen such a terrible image on a Gower shore, and such a tragic death for these incredible animals.”
The Swansea Evening Post says strollers near Bishopston were confronted with the scene on Saturday morning. One person said some were more than 2ft long.
The paper says a spokeswoman for the Welsh Government said it was not “not the first time there has been a mass stranding of this type (of fish) on Gower.”
Thousands of caged fish were found dead at fish farms around Danga Bay, with breeders blaming reclamation work in the area as the cause of their losses.
Fish farmer Tay Yong Peng claimed thousands of his milkfish, weighing more than 10,000kg and worth an estimated RM60,000 in two cages, had died.
He said that other breeders also suffered huge losses due to the reclamation work that had been carried out over several months for a planned expansion of the Danga Bay leisure city.
Tay believed that sediment from the reclamation process had polluted the water and entered the fish’s gills, causing them to suffocate and die.
“This is unfair to the fish farming and fishermen community here as our livelihood has been badly affected due to some irresponsible developer,” he said, adding that he supplied up to 1,000kg of milkfish in the country.
Tay, who co-owns 68 cages of milkfish at his farm near the Danga Bay site, said he was devastated when he noticed the bulk of his fish dead in their cages.
“There were hundreds of fish lying dead in the water, while some looked ill as their eyes were swollen when I saw the cages early on Sunday,” he said yesterday.
“The reclamation had been going on for the past few months but we never received any notice from either the developer or the Fisheries department about the works being done so close to our farms,” he added.
Johor MCA public service and complaints bureau chief Kua Song Tuck urged the developer to come forward and compensate the losses that the fish farmers had to bear due to the land reclamation works.
“Since the area has been largely reclaimed, the depth of the water has also dropped from 6.10m to a shocking 1.52m, making it unsuitable for fish breeding.
”I hope the Fisheries Department can help to look into the matter and maybe allocate some other area for fish breeding purposes.
“Also, provide some aid to local fishermen whose livelihood has been robbed by the developer,” Kua added.
The department and the developer were not available for comments.
More than 1,000 dead fish that were discovered on Monday in Jingualiao Creek (金瓜寮溪), a tributary of a creek that runs into the Feitsui Reservoir in New Taipei City, sparked concerns over the safety of drinking water in the greater Taipei area, home to more than 5 million residents.
Water quality tests conducted jointly by the Taipei Feitsui Reservoir Administration, the Taipei Water Management Office and the Pinglin District Office later on the same day showed that both the acidity and oxygen content of the water in the reservoir are within normal ranges.
This indicated that the fish did not die because of bad water quality and that the water in the reservoir is safe to drink, officials said.
The dead fish were discovered in the lower reaches of Jingualiao Creek, 100m south of Lirenban Bridge, just before the creek joins with Beishih Creek, which runs directly into the reservoir.
A similar incident happened in August last year.
Local residents suspected that the incident on Monday might have been a case of poachers using a pesticide called rotenone to collect fish.
Cuku Borough (粗窟) Warden Wang Cheng-yi (王成意) said that the pesticide could have been used to obtain large quantities of fish with high economic value such as ayu — also known as sweet smelts — which breed from this month to September every year.
Officials with the Taipei Feitsui Reservoir Administration said that they have handed samples of the dead fish to relevant agencies for a comprehensive autopsy report to pinpoint the cause of death.
The administration has also dispatched personnel to clean up the rest of the fish, which are to be incinerated, officials said.
The officials said that even though the incident took place outside the reservoir, it has caused severe concern among residents of the Greater Taipei area.
To prevent such an incident from recurring, officials from the Taipei Feitsui Reservoir Administration said they have filed a report with the New Taipei City Police Department to start a investigation for possible suspects in the potential poaching incident.
Rotting fish lined the banks of the Isipingo River estuary at the weekend after the latest in a series of fish kills in this degraded river system, close to Durban’s largest industrial zone.
North of the city, residents reported that up to 1 000 fish had also been killed by pollution in the uMdloti Lagoon.
Although the exact cause of the deaths at Isipingo has not been confirmed, parts of the estuary were covered in dense mats of green algae and residents reported seeing fish gasping for air last week.
Surveying dozens of dead fish at the river mouth, Isipingo Beach fisherman Haroon Shaik said: “Just look at this stinking mess! I fish at several places along the coastline and many of the other rivers are still clean and healthy. But Isipingo has become a disgrace.”
Shaik said he noticed a strong smell of chemicals in the vicinity of the Reunion Canal just over a week ago.
“We phoned Ezemvelo to come and look at all these dead fish, instead of going after subsistence fishermen who are trying to feed their families. They need to examine the bigger problems in front of their eyes.
“We used to get lovely grunters, mud bream and other big fish in this river, but nowadays all we seem to see is fish gasping for air, or floating belly up,” he said.
Residents Wade Holland and Gerrard Smith estimated that up to 1 000 fish were killed in the uMdloti lagoon.
Holland said paddle-boarders first noticed dead fish on July 3.
The cause of the deaths at eMdloti had also not been confirmed, although water samples were collected for analysis.
Earlier this year, the eThekwini Municipality came under pressure from the Department of Water Affairs to clean up and avoid further pollution of the Isipingo River estuary.
Documents shown to The Mercury suggest that at least 4.8 million litres of sewage, semi-treated beer and potato chip effluent poured into the Isipingo lagoon via a stormwater canal in early January, killing hundreds of fish.
The Water Affairs Department wrote to eThekwini city manager S’bu Sithole in February, noting that there had been several spills in the river mouth since 2006 which appeared to be linked to “failing sewerage infrastructure”.
The department’s regional head, Ashley Starkey, said the estuary was also degraded from high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, along with litter from the Prospecton Canal.
“The department cannot allow the estuary to be managed at this ecologically unacceptable level,” Starkey said.
Di Dold, the chairwoman of Coastwatch KZN, complained that little had been done to remedy regular pollution of the province’s river estuaries. River scientist Mark Graham has reported previously that several rivers in the eThekwini region have become little more than “open sewers”.
The eThekwini Municipality had not responded to requests for comment sent on Friday.
Yağlıdere Çatak River in the town of Umutbük in the neighborhood has lots of fish ashore.
Ömer Bayram is a member of the Provincial Assembly, which by chance on the way to the springs in Çatak River argued that the situation was deplorable.
Feast of the fish ashore explaining that, “the various trout stream in our products, especially trout hundreds of species of fish perished hitting the shore,” he said.
Neighborhood residents Mustafa Özdemir crows and seagulls flying towards the tea by following see the fish that have washed ashore, birds gather announced that fish.
Beginning the afternoon of July 8, the Jinsha River on a large number of dead fish to hundreds of kilometers long Xiangjiaba Reservoir water, mainly for the local common carp, carp, river groups and whitebait, the estimated number of dead fish as many as tens of tons. Yesterday, the Chengdu Chinese Commercial News reporters Cong Pingshan and Xian Zhengfu Information Office learned that dead area affected Sichuan Yibin Pingshan Xin’an, New Town, Book House, Jinping Qing equal five water-rich towns and Zhaotong, Suijiang two nearly ten million more than the county town, when the government has launched emergency plans to prevent water and dead fish events affecting human and animal safety. Currently, the Three Gorges company, Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences expert and Yibin, Zhaotong City Fishery Bureau technical staff have been involved in the investigation.
A mass of dead fish covers two kilometers along the beach at Bailangtan scenic spot in Fangchenggang city of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on July 9, 2014. All the dead fish are the same species with some of them damaged. The migratory fish may be killed by electric shock or bomb attacks. An investigation, involving local environment protection, marine and fishery departments, is underway.
It’s a sight not often seen on the shores of Oahu — fish, by the thousands, washing up on the south and west shores.
Viewers alerted KHON2 of the small dead fish via Report It and beachgoers we talked to say they’ve never seen such a phenomenon.
From a distance, the shoreline in Nanakuli looks normal with some type of debris or rocks on the sand. But take a closer look and you’ll see that’s not what it is.
“Stinky and scary because fish are supposed to be in the water, not on the sand,” said beachgoer Diamond Briscoe.
“Earlier we were swimming around and we saw little fish parts, like heads and stuff,” said beachgoer Jesus Ramos.
The same type of fish and the same size were found dead on numerous beaches. Each fish is about two inches long, but there are hundreds, if not thousands of them on the shores between Nanakuli and Maili.
KHON2 also received reports of this happening at Ko Olina and Waikiki.
“These are flying gurnards,” said Kathleen Cole, an associate professor of biology at University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Cole says the fish are not fully grown, but rather baby fish that are dying.
“I’ve seen them in water three or four feet deep, but they are more typically found, especially in these numbers, they’re typically found in slightly deeper waters,” Cole said.
But what are they doing washing up here and why now?
According to State Aquatic Biologist Alton Miyasaka, nothing is wrong. Nothing toxic or unusual happened.
“They would be normally spawning this time of the year in the summer, so it’s just about catching the tide at the right moment when they’ll come to shore rather than be washed out at sea,” he said.
The state began receiving reports of this more than a week ago and sent samples to a lab to try to confirm this is nothing more than Mother Nature at work.
“Is it normal to still have it appear on the shores a week later?” KHON2 asked.
“Yes, I think it is. I think part of the spawning cycle, they’ll be spawning around this time. They don’t all spawn on the same day,” Miyasaka said.
If you continue to see dead fish washing up on our beaches, do not pick them up.
Subject To Change
Depth: 52 km
Distances: 544 km NE of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea / pop: 283,733 / local time: 06:35:33.0 2014-08-07
110 km SE of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea / pop: 18,847 / local time: 06:35:33.0 2014-08-07