Archive | April 8, 2015

Large die off of fish ‘due to cold weather’ at 3 sites in Nova Scotia, Canada

Fish Kill Alert

Three aquaculture sites are reporting fish mortalities from extreme cold water temperatures -the Port Wade aquaculture sites in the Annapolis Basin, Shelburne Harbour and Jordan Bay.      
“A department fish health veterinarian has visited the sites in Port Wade and Shelburne and will visit the Jordan Bay site in the next few days to investigate the expected cause of death,” said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. “Our provincial fish health veterinarians investigate mortality events to rule out diseases of concern.”  
A preliminary investigation found that a superchill happened.
Most winters, Nova Scotia’s marine waters stay above freezing. Sustained cold air temperatures can drop the water below 0 Celsius, to the temperature that fish blood freezes, around -0.7 C.
Tides in late February and early March also tend to be high, and contribute to lowering temperatures in sea cages by flooding more shallow areas than usual. Low air temperatures cool the water and receding tides flush the cages with superchilled water.
Provincial officials say these types of events happen every five to seven years.
Cooke Aquaculture spokesperson Nell Halse said the company was still determining the scope of the loss, which was significant enough to see a vessel called in from another area to assist.
Halse said despite the “higher than normal mortality” the majority of their fish remained in good health and would soon reach harvest size.
She also noted that water temperatures had begun to rise in the region.
Provincial officials said the deaths do not pose any risk to the environment and that the company was properly disposing of the dead fish.
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Hundreds of dead fish found floating in a river in Hainan, China

 03.03.15 Fish Kill in China
Hundreds of dead fish float on a river in Sanya, South China’s Hainan province, Mar. 3, 2015. The dead fish were mainly found in the waterside terrace between Sanya Experimental Middle School in Hedong Road and the riverbank of Gangmen village. They have attracted a large number of egrets searching for food and also inconvenienced citizens exercising in the morning.
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100,000 ducks killed due to avian flu in Fuzesgyarmat, Hungary

Bird Flu

A total of 100,000 ducks was carried out at a poultry farm in Fuzesgyarmat, a town in southeastern Hungary, after bird flu was discovered there, wire service MTI reported on Monday.
This flu, type H5N8, is not known to have infected humans.
National chief veterinarian Lajos Bognar told MTI that the bird flu was found on only a single farm in Bekes County, albeit at all four of its sites. All birds on the farm, more than 100,000 ducks, were culled over the weekend and disinfection would take most of the week, Bognar said.
A 3 km-deep protected area and a 10 sq km area of observation have been set up around the farm. Animals on all farms within 3 km are undergoing thorough and repeated testing, and all poultry shipments from a 10 km area have been restricted.
It is believed that migrating birds coming north in the spring are responsible for spreading the virus.
The national bureau for Food Chain Safety reported that Japan, Singapore and South Korea have halted imports of poultry and eggs from Hungary, and South Africa and Hong Kong have introduced restrictions.
Hungarian officials have asked that the restrictions be limited to poultry and poultry products from Bekes County, which, said Bognar, has been put under a European Union duck-shipment quarantine by the Hungarian authorities. No ducks will be shipped from Bekes County for 30 days following complete disinfection of the area where the virus was found.
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Thousands of TONS of shellfish have died off during past few years in Whangarei Harbour, New Zealand

The volume of pipis on Mair Bank has slumped from 10,000 tonnes to less than 100 tonnes. Photo / Thinkstock
The volume of pipis on Mair Bank has slumped from 10,000 tonnes to less than 100 tonnes. Photo / Thinkstock
A massive pipi bed in Whangarei harbour is dying and there are fears the change could destabilise the harbour – and Marsden Point itself, Radio NZ reports.
The volume of pipis on Mair Bank has slumped from 10,000 tonnes to less than 100 tonnes, sparking fears the massive sandbank, which protects the harbour entrance, will disappear.
The sandbank, shaped similar to a shark’s tooth, lies just off Marsden Point. Locals previously waded out at low tide to scoop up the daily limit of 150 of the shellfish in a couple of minutes. But no more.
NIWA fisheries scientist, James Williams, said the decline had been drastic. Over the last four to five years the pipi population has collapsed.
He said the bank had been eroding from the south and gaining height; coinciding with an apparent absence of juvenile pipi.
“There was a huge biomass there of pipi, everywhere pretty much on the bank and sub-tidally of about 10,000 tonnes and that’s been reduced to less than 100 tonnes from the 2014 survey,” he said.
“So, less than one per cent of what there was in 2005.”
Dr Williams said pollution had not been a problem. Regular testing shows the water quality is very good, despite the presence of the oil refinery and the timber port next door.
Mair Bank was closed to pipi pickers last year but Dr Williams said the volume of shellfish being taken, including a commercial catch, was miniscule compared to the vast quantity available.
He said it might be worth testing the water to rule out pollution by terpenes — compounds found in pine logs. Dr Williams said it was not known what impact the compounds might have on pipi, but they could act as pesticides on some species.
However, Northport chief executive Jon Moore said run-off from the port’s log storage area drained to a big settlement pond.
“It can pump to the harbour if it reaches a high level, so if you have a storm event, obviously the last thing you want is all of that overflowing so there’s a pipeline back to the harbour,” he said.
“It pumps on those high rain events, but at that point when you’ve got a heavy rainfall, most of the water that’s coming through there is pretty damn clean anyway.”
Radio NZ reports the refinery and Northport are worried the loss of millions of shellfish could destabilise Mair Bank.
The New Zealand Refining Company’s environmental manager, Riann Elliot, said if the bank goes, there would be knock-on effects for the harbour and the foreshore.
He said the channel was “self-dredging”.
“There’s no maintenance dredging required here – that could be jeopardised, so the entry to the harbour could be jeopardised.”
“Erosion along the foreshore along Marsden Point could change drastically. We’ve currently got a bit of an erosion problem and there’s evidence to suggest that could accelerate.”
New Zealand Refining chief executive Sjoerd Post said any increase in erosion had to be a concern for the refinery.
“Our site is very close to the sea perimeter, so the pipis dying out may cause instability in the bank which may lead to bigger consequences for us,” said Mr Post.
“But first and foremost, we are really concerned around the fact that sort of an entire species seems to be dying out all of a sudden.”
Mr Post said it was tangata whenua, Patu Harakeke, who first raised the alarm about the Mair Bank pipi beds.
New Zealand Refining and Northport back their call for urgent research into the problem.
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3 dead whales found washed ashore in Chennai, India

The washing ashore of three sperm whales in the last three days has taken fishermen and marine researchers along the east coast by surprise. 
While the first dead whale was found near Puducherry on Friday, a second carcass was located at Alambaraikuppam near Marakkanam on Saturday with the third being found at Uyyalikuppam near Kalpakkam on Sunday. 
The stranded whale at Uyyalikuppam was a male measuring 50 feet in length and weighing nearly 4 tonnes. The carcass found on Saturday at Alambaraikuppam was that of a female sperm whale which measured 35 feet and weighed nearly 3 tonnes. Both died of injuries suffered on the tail after getting entangled in large nets near the sea surface, said researchers.
Supraja Dharini of TREE Foundation, who visited Uyyalikuppam village, said the flipper of the dead whale was 52 inches long and 30 inches wide, the short dorsal fin was two feet wide — measurements which indicate that it was full grown adult male. The carcass, which bore superficial injuries, had begun to decompose badly when washed ashore. Oil globules were found all over the dorsal side of the body, she said. 
S Venkataraman, director, Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), told TOI that often earthquakes under the sea could disorient these deep sea mammals forcing them to move towards the sea surface where they could have swum into nets and died. With its large population of squids and flow of water currents, the Bay of Bengal region is believed to be a breeding ground for sperm whales though no proper study has been done on this, he said. 
But P Dhandapani, formerly with ZSI, suspected the death due to infighting between the older mammals and the young ones. “Certain aspects of the whale’s behaviour have not been observed and recorded so far. So it would be difficult to ascertain the exact cause of death,” he said. 
Sperm whales are one of the biggest and powerful aquatic mammals with a close and complex social structure. They can dive up to 2,000 metres and can hold their breath for two hours. Due to their deep diving capabilities, they frequently hunt giant squids. Spermaceti, an oily substance found in large quantities inside the mammal’s head, was used to make candles in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ambergris, another substance, was used to make perfumes. Extraction of both are banned now.
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Hundreds of dead fish found in a pond in Aguascalientes, Mexico

Fish Kill Alert

Hundreds of dead fish found in a pond in Aguascalientes, Mexico

Thousands of dead fish found washed up along Columbia River in Portland, USA

Credit: Mike Zacchino
Smelt continue to wash ashore at Collins Beach along the Columbia River on Sauvie Island. It’s a natural occurrence after spawning, though it did surprise some folks not familiar with seeing thousands of dead fish on the beach.
Residents of North Portland’s Bridgeton neighborhood along the Columbia River reported waking to a disturbing sight Sunday. Today a slight odor was evident along the beach.
For folks who wish to see Smelt while they’re still alive, head to the Sandy River, but don’t dip your net into the water just yet.
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Dozens of birds drop dead out of the sky in Tennessee, USA

Dozens of birds drop dead out of the sky in Maury County at the same time. A local pizza delivery driver says he has something to do with the fifty or so birds that turned up dead off North Field Lane Saturday. Russell Thomas contacted FOX17 after our story first aired. Thomas says the birds were flying low and swooped in and bombed his brand new white KIA. He said there is minor damage to his car. Police turned the case over to the TWRA. Police and wildlife officials are on scene are working to get answers as to how and why this happened. They are monitoring the area, bagging birds and taking samples for testing. One witness says the birds were split open from the fall. Officials on scene say they have never seen anything like this. It is unknown what type of birds these are, but they all seem to be the same kind.
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Masses of various marine creatures washing ashore dead on Pasir Ris beach in Singapore

A pile of dead fish which washed up on the shores of Pasir Ris beach on Saturday.
Photo: Facebook / Sean Yap
Scores of dead marine life have been washing up on Pasir Ris beach over the weekend.
While reports have emerged about Changi fish farms suffering massive losses, it seems like wild fish have not been spared either.
Marine creatures – including puffer fish, eels, horseshoe crabs and cuttlefish – have been turning up lifeless on the island’s north-eastern shores.
Photo: Facebook / Sean Yap
Photo: Sankar Ananthanarayanan
Photo: Facebook / Sean Yap
In the Changi case, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said plankton that damaged fish gills were responsible for the casualties.
But locally farmed fish remain safe for consumption as  lab tests have not detected toxins in them.
Mr Sean Yap, an undergraduate studying environmental biology at the National University of Singapore, has documented the carnage in an album on Facebook.
Calling for something to be done to address the almost annual occurrence, he wrote:
“(The) plankton has affected not only farmed fish, but many wild species as well.
“While it is sad to see them this way, this event may actually give us a rare insight into the diversity of marine life in our northern region, which are usually hidden by our opaque waters.”
In March 2012, The New Paper reported that thousands of fish had died along the Sungei Api Api river in Pasir Ris.
Here are some casualties that Mr Yap and his friend Sankar Ananthanarayanan snapped:
Photo: Facebook / Sean Yap
Photo: Facebook / Sean Yap
Photo: Facebook / Sean Yap
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Mass die off of fish and reptiles due to burst fuel pipe in Tabasco, Mexico

Fish Kill Alert

Mass die off of fish and reptiles due to burst fuel pipe in Tabasco, Mexico