Archive | April 11, 2021

Hundreds of dead puffer fish found washed up on a beach in Cape Town, South Africa

HUNDREDS of bizarre sea creatures armed with toxins “deadlier than cyanide” have been found washed up on a beach by a Brit.

Scientist Tess Gridley made the terrifying discovery at Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, while out walking with her family.

Now marine experts have identified the bizarre looking creatures as lethal evil-eye pufferfish and have warned locals to steer clear.

Dr Gridley, who moved to Africa from Sheffield more than a decade ago, estimated that hundreds had become beached on the sands.

“The beach is 200 metres from our house and we were on a family walk,” she said.

“I can’t say how many were there as I only looked in a small area – I was with my kids and dog, and prepping for fieldwork so it was a short visit.

“But if you did count it would have exceeded hundreds.”

The South Africa’s Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said the species carried a killer neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin.

It’s a poison more lethal than cyanide and it causes death by respiratory failure after paralysing the diaphragm.

The ministry’s statement read: “The fish mortalities in False Bay are exclusively of the evil-eye pufferfish with counts of 300 to 400 dead fish per km of shore.

“These dead fish all carry the deadly neurotoxin tetrodotoxin and should not be eaten; death comes usually by cardiac arrest.

“Beach dog walkers are strongly advised to keep their pets away from them.

“If one’s dog does eat whole or part of a pufferfish, immediately induce vomiting and rush your pet to the vet.”

One pet has already been killed as a result of the mass stranding, according to the AfriOceans Conservation Alliance, a local NGO.

Meanwhile, the cause of the incident remains a mystery.

Previous mass strandings have been caused by red tides – an algal bloom that changes the water’s colour, and which produces natural toxins.

However, the ministry statement notes that “there are no reports of any adverse water conditions or red-tide toxins that may have caused this”.

It’s also possible that the fish were blown to shore after puffing themselves up, either during a mass courtship or as a response to big waves.

In any case, Dr Gridley – who studies marine life as part of the Sea Search organisation – believes the public has a part to play in future strandings.

“Keep a look out and report what you see,” the mum-of-two said.

“Don’t be alarmed, these events happen from time to time in natural systems.

“There is now an important role for citizen scientists in reporting these events through social media. We are learning a lot more about the marine environment these days from such reports.

“If possible, collect photos and videos which can then help to identify species, and offer interesting insights into what’s living in our oceans.”

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Thousands of dead fish wash up in a lake in Ogdensburg, New York, USA

There’s a big stink along Ogdensburg’s Maple City Trail as thousands of pond fish are found dead and some are washing into the Oswegatchie River.

It’s not a pretty sight. Thousands of dead fish washed up on shore in this pond just off the Oswegatchie River – and right along the popular Maple City Trail.

“When first noticed just 20 of them, I thought that was alarming, and then to come down and see hundreds if not thousands,” said Jim McCarthy, Ogdensburg resident.

McCarthy walks the trail with his wife. He is also an avid angler, but he has never seen a die-off on this scale. He reported it to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“There’s carp, blue gill, bass, perch, crappies, shiners,” he said.

The DEC investigated. It says the most likely cause is a winterkill.

They’ve been seen around the state this year. Heavy snow cover on ice prevents plants below from producing the oxygen fish need. The dead fish are being seen on the Oswegatchie as well because, according to the DEC, “A culvert connects the wetland to the river and dead fish (mostly carp) are moving from the wetland to the Oswegatchie River through the culvert.”

Some people think ice buildup on the Oswegatchie a few weeks ago may also have cut off the culvert as a possible escape route for live fish.

People say the walking trail is a little less popular these days. They say the stench from these fish is really something on a warmer day.

Local wildlife is also getting in on the act, pecking and tearing at the dead fish.

“Some days it’s overwhelming. We’ve actually had to quit walking the trail for a few days because you couldn’t stand breathing in that, that…,” said McCarthy.

From here, it looks like nature will take it’s course. But it may be a while before the Maple City Trail sees its regulars again.

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7 dead dolphins after 40 become beached in Saudi Arabia

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More than 40 dolphins beached in northwest Saudi Arabia due to heavy winds and unstable weather have been rescued but seven others died, official news agency SPA said Friday.

SPA said they had been driven into shallow waters and ashore this week in Khor al-Thuqba on the Red Sea.

Environment ministry staff, border guards, municipality workers, civil defence members and volunteers took part in the rescue, SPA said, guiding and moving the dolphins by hand from white sandy beaches into deeper waters.

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Millions of dead jellyfish washing up, massive increase, Around the world

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Like a tourist on a cruise ship, the by-the-wind sailor jellyfish (Velella velella) spends its days drifting aimlessly through the open sea, gorging itself on an endless buffet of complementary morsels.

The jelly straddles the ocean’s surface with a rigid sail poking just above the water and an array of purple tentacles dangling just underneath. As the sail catches wind, the jelly floats from place to place, capturing tiny fish and plankton wherever it roams. Thriving Velella colonies can include millions of individuals, all just partying and chowing down together in the open water. Life is good.

Until, that is, the wind blows a colony of sailor jellies onto shore.

Every year, on beaches around the world, colonies of sailor jellies become stranded by the thousands. There, they dry up and die, becoming a “crunchy carpet” of dehydrated corpses covering the sand, Julia Parrish, a University of Washington professor and co-author of a new study on mass Velella strandings, said in a statement.

Sailor jelly strandings are common when seasonal winds change course, but some — like a 2006 event on the west coast of New Zealand — are on another level entirely, with the jellyfish corpses numbering not in the thousands, but in the millions. Why? What force of nature makes some Velella strandings so much larger than others?

Parrish and her colleagues wanted to find out. So, in their new study (published March 18 in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series) they delved into 20 years of Velella observations reported along the west coast of the United States.

The observations came from a program called the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, also known as COASST, which trains citizen scientists to search their local beaches for marine birds that have washed ashore, plus any other unusual animal sightings. COASST’s network covers hundreds of beaches stretching from northern California to the Arctic Circle, according to the group’s website — and, of course, some members have had run-ins with Velella.

The researchers found nearly 500 reports of Velella strandings in the COASST database, sighted on nearly 300 beaches. According to these reports, the most massive die-offs by far occurred during spring months from 2015 to 2019. During those years, dead jellyfish littered more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) of continuous coastline, the researchers found.

Those jellyfish die-offs also coincided with a massive marine heat wave known as “the blob.” Beginning in 2013, surface waters off the Pacific coast began heating up to levels never recorded before, Live Science previously reported. The intense warming continued through 2016, tampering with every level of the marine food chain and resulting in mass die-offs of seabirds, baleen whales, sea lions and other creatures. According to the new study, it’s likely that the blob drove the mass die-offs of by-the-wind sailor jellyfish reported during those years.

The catch is, those warming ocean waters may have actually been good for the jellies, the researchers said. As the blob increased ocean surface temperatures, certain fish (such as northern anchovies) benefited from longer spawning seasons, providing more food for Velella jellies to gobble up earlier in the year. This may have caused jellyfish populations to spike before seasonal wind changes blew the jellies ashore in the spring.

In other words, the blob may have helped Velella jellies thrive off the Pacific coast, leading to much larger stranding events those years. The sailor jellies could therefore become climate change “winners” as global warming is predicted to increase the frequency of marine heat waves, the researchers wrote. But their success will come at the expense of other, less fortunate creatures — and a whole mess of jellyfish carcasses on our coasts.

“A changing climate creates new winners and losers in every ecosystem,” Parrish said in the statement. “What’s scary is that we’re actually documenting that change.”

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3 sperm whales dead after stranding on beach in New Zealand

Whale Alert

Three sperm whales have died at Ripiro beach on Northland’s Pouto Peninsula.

The Department of Conservation said the whales were reported stranded on Monday night.

They died on Tuesday morning.

Samples have been taken to try and ascertain the cause of death.

DOC’s Stephanie Hayes said the department is working closely with Waikaretu Marae and Te Uri o Hau.

“Our main focus now is ensuring the safety of the public and the burial of the whales.”

DOC is asking the public to stay away from the site until the flensing and burial process is complete.

The whales range in length from 12 metres to 14 metres.

DOC responds to about 85 whale stranding incidents every year, typically of single animals.

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Record 93 dolphin and whale deaths are reported

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Mystery surrounds the worst spate of dolphin and whale strandings on record in Ireland.

There have been 93 dead dolphins, whales and porpoises washed up along the coast in the first two months of the year – the highest number ever recorded in that time period.

Four were successfully refloated after efforts from volunteers but 89 died.

Last year, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group received 70 reports of the animals washing up dead in the winter months, which was unprecedented, but it was surpassed this year with 93 strandings.

Common dolphins are the most frequent species found making up more than two-thirds of the carcasses this year.

In a number of cases, people who found dolphin carcasses were convinced they had found the remains of much-loved Dingle dolphin Fungie, but none of the animals turned out to be the famous bottlenose dolphin with distinctive markings.

Just under one in 10 had obvious signs of being caught in nets, three had tails cut off, three had broken jaws, and one was caught in a net.

Stephanie Levesque, stranding officer with the IWDG, believes the pandemic has meant more people are out walking their local shores and this could be playing a role in the increased reports.

The strandings are concentrated mainly among the west and south-west coasts.

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Hundreds of dead fish found in the Swan river in Perth, Australia

Hundreds of dead fish have been seen floating in the Swan River in Perth, prompting an investigation.

The Parks and Wildlife Service says at least 600 dead fish have been reported in the river near Garratt Road Bridge in Bayswater and upstream in northeast Perth.

“Significant rainfall and increased flows from the Avon River may have contributed to the fish kill,” the Department of Health and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said in a joint statement on Saturday night.

“An increased amount of debris is also expected to float downstream in coming weeks following the large rainfall event.”

The fish are mostly bream.

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Hundreds of dead birds found on beaches in Norway

Images of hundreds of dead woodcocks in Norway’s North Sea are a sad reminder that cold and snowy storms have dire consequences for our wildlife. As reported last February through the social networks The Woodcok Network – a bird banding project located in the United Kingdom and commanded by experts Miguel Minondo and Jaannus Aua-, there has been a massive death of woodcocks in the area from Satabvanger, in Norway , due to the low temperatures they have had to cope with due to the cold wave that hits northern Europe.

‘Many birds may have already crossed the North Sea to avoid starvation. This fact occurs on some occasions, the last about 10 years ago, and although it is distressing, it does not seem to have a long-term impact on the total population of woodcocks ”, both experts say about this fact that they qualify as“ punctual ”.

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Dozens of dead dolphins and birds found on the coast of Krasnodar, Russia

Dolphin Alert

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Dead dolphins and birds were found on the coast of the village of Dzhubga (Krasnodar Territory). Tik-Tok video uploaded by user Costa Klimoff (constantine1986).

“I don’t know what is being thrown into the water here, this is Dzhubga, but there are a lot of dead birds, dolphins. I don’t know what it’s connected with. Moreover, the birds are all of the same species, ”the man commented on what he saw.

February on social networks residents of Vityazevo and Gelendzhik. The Anapa authorities associate this with the cold, noting that the locals and guests of the resorts help, feed the swans, ducks, crested grebes every day, but they cannot save everyone. The head of the press service of the Gelendzhik administration, Yanina Skorikova, told RBC that this is an annual phenomenon. “We took a comment from veterinarians. This is an annual phenomenon, at this time the animals are just weakened. In addition, this year the weather was cold for the south, this also played a role – there was little food, ”Skorikova said. The head of the veterinary department of Gelendzhik, Orest Pilavov, confirmed that “there has not been such a winter for a long time, the bird simply could not stand it all.”

URA.RU sent an official request to the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Krasnodar Territory. No response was received at the time of publication.

The fact that abnormal cold weather will come to the south of Russia, noted “ Constantinople “, Scientific Director of the Hydrometeorological Center of the Russian Federation Roman Vilfand said in December 2020. Also, according to meteorologists, the snowy harsh winter this year will affect the onset of spring , in the central regions of the country in March and early April the temperature is expected to be below normal.

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Subject to change
Depth: 7 km

Distances: 88 km W of Pátra, Greece / pop: 168,000 / local time: 01:53:58.8 2021-04-11

9 km SSE of Itháki, Greece / pop: 1,800 / local time: 01:53:58.8 2021-04-11