Massive Shark Die-Off on California Coast is Alarming Researchers

By Vic Bishop | Waking Times

Mass marine animal die-offs have become regular news in recent years, especially along the western coast of the America’s where it is quite common to hear of pods of whales or other animals mysteriously perishing in great numbers.

Most recently along the coast of California, primarily around the San Francisco Bay area, an alarming number of sharks are dying, and officials are at a loss as to why. For the past three months, thousands of dead leopard sharks have been washing up on shores in the bay, and their decomposing bodies may be making the problem worse.

The best guess at the present moment is a fungal infection affecting the brains of these sharks, likely a result of the major rains which hit California earlier this year which greatly affected the salinity of the San Francisco bay, although, some researchers admit they do not fully understand why this is happening.

Similar events were reported in 2011, with some pointing out the likelihood that the animals were affected by more than just fresh water, but by the amount of man-made pollution and contamination which flows into the ocean from inland.

Canals that regulate tide flow may be preventing the sharks, which usually grow about five feet long, from escaping some kind of toxic discharge or other manmade pollution source, said Sean Van Sommeran with the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in Santa Cruz. [Source]

CBS News has the following report:

The Pacific Ocean appears to be in greatest distress, leaving many to wonder what negative effects the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has had on the sea since it began leaking radioactive material in 2011. In 2013, what has been described as a viral plague began wiping out millions of starfish and sea urchins began all along the Western sea board of the U.S., and subsequently spread to the Atlantic.

Final Thoughts

International shark populations are under extreme duress today in the face of uncontrollable shark-finning and unsustainable fishing practices which jeopardize many species of sea animals. In the mean time, as more mass die-offs occur, we really have to wonder about our commitment to a healthy environment for animals and for ourselves.

Nothing is more important to life on earth than the condition of our global eco-systems, and in the 2014 edition of World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report, it was reported that 52% of the world’s marine life has disappeared since 1970. Staggering.

“WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report tracks 5,829 populations of 1,234 mammal, bird, reptile and fish species through a marine living planet index. The evidence, analyzed by researchers at the Zoological Society of London, paints a troubling picture. In addition to the plummeting number of marine vertebrate species, populations of locally and commercially fished fish species have fallen by half, with some of the most important species experiencing even greater declines.” [Source]

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