The Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment has received several reports of fish ‘die-offs’ occurring recently in the inshore waters of the Island.
Reports began on Saturday, May 9th regarding the discovery of dead red-eared sardines (also known as pilchards) in the region of Shelly Bay, Hamilton Parish.
A biologist from the Department of Conservation Services attended the area and estimated that several hundred fish had been affected and observed a suspected algae bloom, which may be the cause of the dead fish. Samples of the fish and water were collected for testing.
Additional reports have also surfaced of dead fish of the same species in the Spanish Point area, Whalebone Bay and Coot Pond, St. George’s; however the number of fish at the latter sites were small. A further suspected algae bloom was reported in the waters off Tuckers Town and another along the north shore of Harrington Sound.
The plankton bloom, when coupled with calm weather and light easterly winds, can create low oxygen levels in the waters of western-facing bays, such as Shelly Bay and at Spanish Point. These conditions could have caused the fish mortality.
“A change in wind direction may bring more fish carcasses to shore but would also disperse the bloom and re-oxygenate the water column,” explained a spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection. “We expect the conditions which caused the die-off to diminish; already a check of Shelly Bay today revealed no further mortality.
“It is important for the public to keep in mind that these kinds of episodes do occur naturally. Swimmers at Shelly Bay have not reported any resultant illness, and the Department of Health has no reports of related illness. There is no cause to avoid swimming, however the Ministry reminds people to not consume any dead fish, nor should the fish be offered to any pet animal.”
Courtesy of todayinbermuda.com