Northeast Pacific Die-offs

SUBHEAD: Starfish and sardines are disappearing along the Pacific Ocean shores of Canada and America.

By Staff on 14 October 2013 for ENENews -

Image above: Disembodied arms of a diseased sea star near Popham Island, 12 miles northwest of Vancouver, B.C. From (

Starfish Dieoff

Starfish epidemic “moving fast” - Turning into ‘goo’ in Washington, not just Canada - “Virus, bacteria or something else entirely” - “Will it spread to other sea life and other parts of West Coast?”

NPR (Northwest Public Radio), Oct. 14, 2013 – Transcript Excerpts: Scientists in two nations are on the lookout for a rapidly spreading epidemic. [...] Vancouver Aquarium biologist Jeff Marliave: “The sick ones tend to just fall apart in front of your eyes. An arm will actually break off and crawl away. They turn into goo.” [...] A big question is will the epidemic spread to other sea life and to other parts of the West Coast? [...] Marliave: “It’s moving fast” [...]

KUOW, Oct. 14, 2013: Mass Starfish Die-Off Hits Vancouver, Maybe Headed to Washington [...] “For all we know, a lot have already died and are gone,” said Marine ecologist Drew Harvell of Cornell University [...] Harvell said Olympic National Park biologists studying the more familiar ochre stars [...] report seeing about 10 percent of them with a similar infection. In October, divers with the SeaDoc Society have reported small numbers of sunflower stars and three other species of sea stars wasting away in the San Juan Islands. [...] Scientists in Washington and British Columbia are gathering sea stars [...] to find out if the wasting disease is a virus, bacteria or something else entirely. [...]

Canadian Press, Oct. 7, 2013: Vancouver Aquarium ‘alarmed’ at mass die-off of starfish on B.C. ocean floor [...] aquarium staff don’t know just how far-reaching the “alarming” epidemic has been, and whether this and other sea star species will recover. “They’re gone. It’s amazing,” said Donna Gibbs, a research diver and taxonomist on the aquarium’s Howe Sound Research and Conservation group. “Whatever hit them, it was like wildfire and just wiped them out.” [...] Aquarium staff don’t know the cause because they have had trouble gathering specimens for testing, as starfish that looked healthy in the ocean turned up as goo at the lab. [...] “We’re just not sure yet if it’s all the same thing,” Gibbs said. “They’re dying so fast.” [...] The collaboration came about after a graduate student collected starfish for a research project and then watched as they “appeared to melt” in her tank. [...]

Global News, Oct. 3, 2013: [...] starfish wasting or completely disintegrating ever since early September. “Now they are gone. They have disintegrated, and now there is just goo left,” says research diver and taxonomist Donna Gibbs. “So we are trying to see as much as we can really fast and get reports from divers in other areas to see how widespread this is.” […] “It is shocking to see them all dead. They are just gone. And, are they coming back? We want them back. B.C. is known for its sea stars. We have more species here than anywhere else in the world.” [...]

National Geographic, Sept. 9, 2013: [...] “It really struck a chord in other divers who were seeing it on Facebook and social media, both locally and as far away as California, who had been seeing similar things,” [marine biologist Jonathan] Martin said. [...] Martin wrote to invertebrate expert Christopher Mah, a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. [...] he said: “(The starfish) seem to waste away, ‘deflate’ a little, and then just … disintegrate. The arms just detach, and the central disc falls apart. It seems to happen rapidly, and not just dead animals undergoing decomposition, as I observed single arms clinging to the rock faces, tube feet still moving, with the skin split, gills flapping in the current. [...] we did our second dive in an area closed to fishing, and in absolutely amazing numbers. The bottom from about 20 to 50 feet [6 to 15 meters] was absolutely littered with arms, oral discs, tube feet, gonads and gills … it was kind of creepy.” [...] Yet what’s especially alarming to Martin, Mah, and other marine biologists is the fact that this die-off might not be restricted to P. helianthoides or the northern Pacific. [...] Fisheries and Oceans Canada is worried enough that they’ve asked Martin to go back out and collect samples for them to test in the lab. [...]

Sardine Dieoff
By Staff on 15 October 2013 for ENENews -


‘Troubling Mystery’: Complete collapse of sardine population on West Coast of Canada around Vancouver — Official: It’s ‘unexpected’ — Expert: Humpback whales rarely seen, they’re telling us something changed… nobody knows what’s going on.

The Oregononian, Oct. 15, 2013: [...] a fascinating, troubling mystery: the disappearance of the sardine in waters around British Columbia. The Vancouver Sun fills in the details on the collapsed $32-million commercial fishery this year on the B.C. coast. The consequences of the loss of the tiny fish [...] could be dire.

Vancouver Sun, October 15, 2013 (h/t Charlie3, NoNukes): Sardine fishery [...] has inexplicably and completely collapsed this year on the B.C. coast. [...] failing to catch a single fish. And the commercial disappearance [...] is having repercussions all the way up the food chain [...] Peter Schultze, a senior guide and driver with Ocean Outfitters, said humpbacks are normally found seven to 10 kilometres or closer to shore, but this year were about 18 to 32 kilometres out [...] if they were observed at all. “There were a lot of days where people got skunked.” [...] scientists today attribute the overriding cause to changes in ocean conditions that proved unfavourable to sardines. [...] “This year was unexpected,” said Lisa Mijacika, a resource manager with Fisheries and Oceans Canada [...] Scientists from Canada, the U.S., and Mexico will meet in December to try to find answers to the sardine’s movements. [...]

Jim Darling, whale biologist with the Pacific Wildlife Foundation interviewed by The Sun: Humpbacks typically number in the hundreds near the west coast of Vancouver Island in summer [...] They were observed only sporadically this year [...] “Humpbacks are telling us that something has changed” [...] “I don’t think anyone really has a bead on what’s going on” [...] “[The sardines are] driving the whole system and supporting virtually everything” [...] “There are some important questions to be asked about the sardine fishery.”

[IB Publisher's note: No one has directly connected these startling events to over fishing, global warming or Fukushima Daiichi radiation, but who would be surprised if they were. One thing is certain - the Pacific Ocean is under great stress and mass die-offs need our attention and action. Here on Kauai we have the PMRF coordinating many harmful military weapons experimental tests. Their "playgorund" is a million square miles of Pacific Ocean (that as in a 1,000 x 1,000 miles area) with testing from Vandenberg Air Force Base out past the Hawaiian Islands. many of those activities are killing whales and other ocean mammals. Now that we have a No-GMO victory with Bill 2491 many of us can move on change the mindset of the Navy PMRF or push them off our island.]


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