Thousands of marine creatures washing ashore are causing concerns in Nova Scotia.
As many as 20,000 fish and other sea creatures have washed ashore on the coast of Western Nova Scotia in Canada, and scientists and marine biologists in the area are at a loss to explain why.
An article in usnews.com, says fish, lobsters, starfish, scallops, crabs, and other marine animals are washing up on the shore at Savary Provincial Park, and the number of species being affected is increasing almost daily.
Officials first suspected exposure to toxic chemicals, but so far, no test results have confirmed the presence of any such chemicals. Still, scientists are warning the public the windfall catch should not be eaten.
Canadian authorities issued a statement saying, “Dead fish found on shore should not be collected by general public. Consumers should only purchase from licensed harvesters/sellers.”
Even though tests done hasn’t found any reason for the kill, officials from the fisheries and ocean departments say they are continuing to test to make sure they haven’t overlooked something.
“Everything to date has come back negative,” according to representative Doug Wentzell. “We’re going back to the drawing board to make sure that we have not left any stone unturned.”
Similar die-offs in the past have been blamed on low oxygen content in the water, but scenarios such as that usually play out in warmer waters, since cold water holds more oxygen than warm water. Kills such as these normally occur in the warm summer months also.
According to the article, Kent Smedbol, a marine ecologist said in a interview with Canadian television other causes for such an event could be storm runoff, human-made pollutants, or agricultural runoffs.
Smedbol also mentioned a newly installed tidal turbine as a possible explanation. The new turbine came online in November of 2016, and Smedbol says some scientists are looking at that event as the start of the kill.
Locals in the area are concerned as many make their livings in the fishing industry, and they worry about the long-term impact the event will have on their lifestyles. Not to mention the biologists in the area still don’t know the cause and how much longer the marine animals will continue to perish.