Archive | October 13, 2019

Hundreds of #cattle dead due to #storm in #Almeria, #Spain

Livestock Alert

The sub-delegate of the Government in Almeria, Manuel de la Fuente , has toured on Tuesday the municipalities of the Almanzora region most affected by the floods and has seen ‘in situ’, accompanied by the mayors, the “huge damage caused by torrential rains “.

As the agency has indicated in a note, it is the third visit made by De la Fuente to the areas most affected by the passage of DANA, after those already made on Friday, first to Níjar and then to Huércal-Overa and Pulpí.

The damage check has started early in the morning in Cantoria, where about 110 liters per square meter of water fell in just two hours. In the La Hojilla ravine, which joins Cantoria with the district of La Hoya, the water reached about two meters high and caused the breakage of the road and the concrete chains of the bridge.

Likewise, the passage to the hamlet of El Faz , where some 200 neighbors live , remains cut . The water pipe has also damaged the crossing bridge over the Almanzora River, between the towns of Cantoria and Almanzora. In this place, the water exceeded four meters high in the riverbed and rose above two meters on the road. The City Council, chaired by Purificación Sánchez, is still estimating the damages suffered.

In Arboleas , the most important destruction caused by the flood was the rupture of the potable water supply pipes to the neighborhoods of El Rincón, La Cinta and Tahullas, where around 600 neighbors reside, a problem that, today, It has already been resolved, as highlighted by the mayor, Cristóbal García. The rain has also caused numerous landslides on municipal roads to access slums.

The next municipality has been Armuña del Almanzora . There, the sub-delegate has traveled with his mayor, José Berruezo, part of the rural roads flooded by the rain, which has also caused serious damage to different ramblas and in the water supply network of the municipality. This noon, city hall machinery worked piece by piece to repair the supply as soon as possible.

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Hundreds if not thousands of dead #starfish wash up on beach in #SouthHams, #UK

Credit: Emily Baker

Scientists have revealed what they think caused the mass stranding of hundreds of starfish on a beach in the South Hams.

Witnesses say they saw “hundreds if not thousands” of dead starfish swept onto Slapton Sands in Torcross at around 6.45pm on Monday, September 16.

Holidaymakers Martyn and Jill Worrall were leaving dinner at the Start Bay Inn when they witnessed the “surreal” occurrence.

Martyn said: “The waves were washing up hundreds if not thousands of starfish over about 100 yards of the shoreline in front of us.

“I went down onto the beach to see if they were alive, but unfortunately, they looked dead as they weren’t moving.

“There were more being washed in as I watched.”

The couple left shortly afterwards.

In 2016, experts at Plymouth University investigated similar cases of mass strandings and found that it occurs when starfish curl themselves into balls.

It is not known if the unusual phenomenon, known as starballing, is deliberate but marine research fellow Dr Emma Sheehan believes it could help explain why mass strandings occur.

She said: “We simply cannot say whether the starballing individuals were swept off the seabed by the strong tidal flow, or if the individuals allowed themselves to be transported.”

On Tuesday morning, around twenty lifeless starfish were spotted on the beach in front of the Start Bay Inn.

Nine years ago, a different beach in Devon attracted national news coverage after thousands of starfish washed up along a mile stretch.

Multiple news agencies reported the starfish were exhausted after spawning, causing them to drift onto the Budleigh Salterton shoreline.

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93,500 #pigs killed due to #AfricanSwineFever in #SouthKorea

African Swine Fever Alert

South Korea on Wednesday confirmed two additional cases of African swine fever near its border with North Korea despite heightened efforts to contain the epidemic that has wiped out pig populations across Asia.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said lab tests confirmed the country’s 10th and 11th cases of the disease at two farms in Paju, a border town where the first infection was confirmed on Sept. 17.

Officials have been scrambling to halt the spread of the disease, disinfecting farms, trucks and roads, banning livestock movement and destroying some 93,500 pigs. They plan to slaughter at least 17,000 more pigs, including the animals at farms within a 3-kilometer (2-mile) radius of the two Paju farms were infections were newly confirmed.

The illness is harmless to humans but highly fatal for pigs. There is no effective vaccine or treatment.

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3,583 #ducks killed due to #BirdFlu in #Taiwan

Bird Flu

Taiwan has confirmed the country’s first case of the highly pathogenic H5N5 strain of avian influenza on a duck farm in Cishan District, Kaohsiung, Council of Agriculture (COA) Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said Monday.

The virus was identified Sept. 12 as an H5 subtype and was confirmed as H5N5 the following day. The case has been reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), according to Huang.

According to OIE regulations, H5N5-free status can be regained if no new cases are detected within three months of preventive measures and surveillance, including disinfection of all affected establishments, Huang said.

It is hoped that the surveillance plan can be completed during the three-month period from Sept. 12 to Dec. 12, he added.

The H5N5 case was the first in Taiwan but was not the first in Asia. The first H5N5 virus in Asia was detected in China in 2011, according to the COA.

However, the source of the virus is still unknown, according to Huang.

The virus detected on the Cishan duck farm led to the culling of 3,583 ducks, according to Tu Wen-chen (杜文珍), deputy chief of the COA’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.

Rapid diagnostic tests for detecting the highly pathogenic virus were conducted on five nearby farms, all of which showed negative results, meaning that the virus has not spread to other areas, Tu said.

High-risk areas for avian flu outbreaks in Taiwan are mainly in 18 townships in Changhua, Yunlin and Pingtung counties, as well as Tainan and Kaohsiung.

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Thousands of dead fish found in #GuadianaRiver in #CiudadReal, #Spain

Fish Kill Alert

Thousands of fish appeared dead yesterday in the riverbed of the Guadiana River as it passes through the municipality of Luciana (Ciudad Real) and environmental agents of the Community Board of Castilla-La Mancha investigate the causes, among which a possible illegal dumping.

This was explained by the mayor of Luciana, Dionisio Vicente, who said in statements to EFE that this large number of fish was detected early in the morning, when several residents of the municipality warned of the appearance of animals, as well as of «a strong and unpleasant smell »and the water of the river« in poor condition ».

Vicente said that the City Council, after learning of the facts, alerted both the environmental agents of the Community Board , as well as the technicians of the Guadiana Hydrographic Confederation, who took samples of the water in that same place.

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Hundreds of dead #fish found after river dries up, ‘unusual’, in the #Chilterns, #UK

Fish Kill Alert

A picturesque small river in the Chilterns has dried up, leaving hundreds of fish and shrimp dead, with experts and local action groups blaming climate change for reduced water levels.

Alarming photographs show the waterless muddy bottom of the River Misbourne in Buckinghamshire strewn with decomposing corpses.

The river is one of 260 chalk streams in the world, nine of which are in the Chilterns – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are notable for being very clear, and supporting a large diversity of wildlife.

Conservationists at the Chiltern Chalk Streams Project have called for a drought to be declared to prevent more creatures from suffering the same fate.

Project officer Allen Beechey said: “Our chalk streams are in crisis and facing a fight for survival.

“A combination of climate change and over-abstraction to supply our ever-rising demand for water has left chalk streams like the River Misbourne in a dire state.”

Bob Olden, founder of the Misbourne River Action group, told The Independent: “The Misbourne is dry for an exceptional amount of its length at the moment.”

The same thing happened in 2017, he said, though not to the same extent.

“It’s unusual, and possibly getting to be more frequent.”

He said that a generation ago, several sections of the river were regularly used as swimming spots, but also added that low water levels had been a problem centuries ago.

“Mill owners in 1774 were complaining it had dried up on one occasion,” he said. “But we also have plenty of records of floods. The river couldn’t possibly sustain mills today.

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Die off of #salmon causing collapse of #salmon #fishing in #BritishColumbia, #Canada

Fish Kill Alert

Don Sananin has loved the sea and fishing since he started in the industry as a 17-year-old.

On the water, being so close to nature, soothed his soul.

“It’s absolutely beautiful. I even love a good storm. There’s only a few jobs that brings out the soul in you.”

But after more than 50 years working as a commercial fisherman, the Burnaby man hasn’t seen a salmon season as grim as this year’s. Sananin, 70, who holds a licence for the area that includes the Fraser River to the west coast of Vancouver Island, hasn’t been out on the water yet. “There hasn’t been an opening,” he said. “The sockeye is the worst it’s ever been since the 1890s.”

He’s one of the commercial fishermen and other workers — who rely on abundant and healthy salmon stocks for their livelihood — hit hard by the decline in stocks, which the federal fisheries ministry has attributed largely to climate change.

On Monday, First Nations and union leaders said the federal and provincial governments need to step in to help fishermen through the worst commercial fishing season in 50 years as runs have plummeted for all species and in all regions. “The impacts of this climate-change disaster has been coast wide,” Joy Thorkelson, president of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union, said in New Westminster.

“The impacts are on fishermen, plant workers, net menders, and reduction plant workers, from Lax Kw’alaams [in northern B.C.] all the way down to White Rock and all the places in between.”

Thorkelson said at least 2,500 people have been affected by the downturn. She shared stories from union members who had called her office asking for help, including a fisherman whose catch can’t cover fuel and provision costs and a shore worker who told her she has to look into school breakfast and lunch programs because she can only afford to provide one meal for her child.

Many of the workers haven’t earned money since last year’s salmon season, she said, calling the situation “a huge crisis.”

“People need disaster relief now,” she said. “We need to talk to the government about what climate change adaptation is going to look like for the commercial industry in the future, but we need something to keep the bodies and souls of those people together.

“They have no money.”

Bob Chamberlain, a former vice-president of Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, says the government needs to come up with diverse solutions since global warming is an added stressor for salmon.

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Hundreds of dead fish found washed up on #Noordhoek beach in #CapeTown, #SouthAfrica

Fish Kill Alert

While enjoying the scenic setting of Noordhoek beach over the weekend, many locals were left puzzled by the huge numbers of dead fish lying out on the light sandy shores.

We spoke to Professor Mark Gibbons from the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the University of the Western Cape who said it is likely that this occurrence is related to the seasonal lull of the lagoon.

“The most logical answer would be they have been left high and dry. To the best of my knowledge there is nothing else that could explain the fact that they are all lagoonal species. If it was wider event, we would have expected to see many other species involved, including invertebrates,” says Gibbons.

As the lagoon waters recede with the arrival of warmer temperatures they leave these tiny species of fish without any water to swim in, so what may seem like an unusual incident is all part of nature.

The fish then act as a good source of food for seabirds and passing carnivores.

So if you stumble upon a large group of stranded fish on a local beach, have no fear, nothing unusual or dangerous has taken place, it is just a natural occurrence for this time of year.

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282 #seals found dead during past year on beaches in #Alaska, #USA

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U.S. government biologists are investigating the deaths of nearly 300 Arctic ice seals found on Alaska beaches since last summer, federal officials said on Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday declared the seal die-off an “unusual mortality event,” a designation that allows extra resources to be used to determine the cause.

So far, 282 seal carcasses have been discovered since June 2018. Fewer than half – 119 – were found last year, NOAA said. That is five times the normal morality rate for such seals, according to NOAA.

The carcasses likely account for a small fraction of the total number of dead seals, as scientists assume the majority of stricken animals would sink after dying or otherwise never make it to shore, said Julie Speegle, an Alaska spokeswoman for NOAA’s Fisheries Service.

The die-off comes as Arctic Alaska sea ice is scarce and sea temperatures are unusually high – conditions most scientists attribute to global warming brought on by human-caused increases of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

Those warm conditions may be a possible cause of the die-off, Speegle said.

“That’s definitely one of a number of factors,” she said.

The die-off has affected bearded seals and ringed seals, which are listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and spotted seals, which are not. All three species depend on floating sea ice for resting, pup-rearing and other critical life functions.

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5,000 #pigs killed due to #AfricanSwineFever in #Hungary

African Swine Fever Alert

Whole pig farms had to be killed due to the suspicion of African swine fever, but the information provided to pig keepers is incomplete.

On Monday afternoon, we received an answer from the National Food Chain Safety Authority (Nebih) asking how many domestic pigs had to be killed so far due to African swine fever. A previously published report from revealed that authorities are not giving much thought to the fact that even if there is any suspicion that a virus has appeared in a pig farm , they will immediately order the killing of the herd.

As we have reported, stakeholders do not have all the information, and there is great uncertainty and mistrust of the authorities due to full information. We know from professional circles that the rules applicable in the epidemiological situation allow information to be limited, for example, they do not have to tell the authorities the reason for killing the animals, although this has been refuted by our Nebih question. When asked on Friday how many animals had to be killed so far, the Office responded on Monday stating that they had to kill five thousand domestic pigs so far.

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