Officials: “Historic crisis” along US West Coast… “We’re facing a fishery disaster”… “Very never-seen-before things”… Should be exclamation alarm to public — Extinction threat for salmon runs; Loss of sardines, squid, sea urchins, kelp; Massive sea star deaths; Marine mammal strandings… more
Published: February 23rd, 2016 at 9:37 am ET
Press Democrat, Feb 11, 2016 (emphasis added): Scientists and lawmakers foresee grim outlook for California’s ocean fisheries… the outlook is overwhelmingly grim, presenters said at an annual forum of the joint legislative Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture. “Something’s going on in the ocean, and it’s not right, and it doesn’t fit our historical understandings,” California Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham told members of the committe… Bonham noted stretches of coastline suddenly barren of sea urchins… [N]umerous anomalies… are growing increasingly apparent, Bonham said. “This should be an… alarm to the general public”… Bonham said… [S]everal witnesses Thursday forecast what most in the industry already have anticipated: a collapse, or near collapse, of key salmon runs in the state… “I cannot say this more bluntly,” [State Senator Mike McGuire] said. “We are facing a fishery disaster here in California”… U.S. Department of Commerce [is] considering a request by Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a fishery disaster…
Ocean Beach Rag, Feb 18, 2016: California’s Crab and Salmon Fisheries Threatened By Historic Crisis… [O]fficials testified about the dire situation that the salmon and crab fishery is in at a recent forum at the State Capitol… “The salmon and crab fisheries are threatened by a historic crisis. We’re facing a fishery disaster” [said Senator Mike McGuire]… “We’ve gone from abundance to scarcity… “During the last two years, we’ve lost over 95 percent of the Sacramento River winter-run chinook and over 95 percent of the fall-run Chinook.”… things are expected to be even worse this year… Something’s going on in the ocean — State officials and scientists spoke on the unprecedented changes in the ocean believed to be impacting crab, salmon and other fish populations… These include the massive deaths of sea stars, the decline of the squid fishery, the closure of the sardine fishery, the decline of kelp habitat and the loss of most of the red sea urchins north of San Francisco recently…
Mad River Union, Feb 18, 2016: Ocean behavior alarming, puzzling… The following is one of several stories about the crab and fisheries calamities… [Bonham] testified that menacing changes are altering both marine biology and ecology and the changes do not fit historical understandings of ocean behavior. Bonham declared grimly, “This should be an exclamation alarm to the general public to stay aware and engaged in the ecological change going on in the ocean.”… [M]ost of the red urchin population has perished, moving from abundance to scarcity in just a few years. “Mile-long stretches of the North Coast [are] urchin barrens,” Bonham stated… There have emerged “very never-seen-before things“… The salmon outlook remains unfavorable… The Sacramento winter run “really raises the existential threat of extinction,” he testified… [T]oxic contamination generated by algal blooms may spread well beyond crabs and urchins, raising sinister unknowns, Bonham predicted warily. “Why not more and more species one right after another?” he asked…
Daily Astorian, Feb 18, 2016: Marine mammal strandings concern experts; A humpback whale that washed ashore in Seaside was one of several strandings… In the past few weeks, a humpback whale washed ashore in Seaside, and a harbor porpoise and two striped dolphins were found on the North Coast…
See also: Sickened animals “unlike anything doctors have ever seen” on West Coast — “They’re eating themselves from the inside” — Cancers… liver, pancreas, intestines shut down — Unprecedented catastrophe to cause loss of 200,000 sea lions (VIDEO):
Published: October 11th, 2015 at 11:37 pm ET
Dr. Timothy Mousseau, Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina,
published Oct 3, 2015:
18:30 in — “We don’t see these kind of patches of white feathers anywhere else around the world… Whats really interesting is that 2 years ago we started finding birds in Fukushima with patches of white feathers as well… The frequencies are increasing, its related to the radiation exposure… White spots, they first started noticing these white spots on these cows shortly after the disaster.”
30:30 in — “Fukushima… After 4 years of repeated sampling this is what we find: huge impacts, dramatically fewer birds in the areas of high radiation, many dramatically fewer species of birds as well.”
32:00 in — “Since it was July, I think I’ll… have to go with ‘Silent Summer’ effect… It’s really a dead zone. There are no butterflies, no birds. Very few, and it’s very, very clearly the result of the radiation contaminants.”
34:30 in — (Showing images of the radioactive contamination crossing the Pacific Ocean) “Why does it matter to you?… The reason is… it’s coming — it is coming.”
Report: “Red Alert! Sharp increase in radiation… at Fukushima” — Levels spike 400,000% under plant — Almost 1,000,000,000 becquerels per cubic meter — TV: Officials investigating cause
Published: December 10th, 2015 at 4:15 pm ET
NHK World, Dec 9, 2015: Radiation spikes in Fukushima underground ducts — The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says levels of radioactivity in underground tunnels have sharply risen. Tokyo Electric Power Company has detected 482,000 becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium in water samples taken from the tunnels on December 3rd. That’s 4000 times higher than data taken in December last year. The samples also contained 500,000 becquerels of a beta-ray-emitting substance, up 4,100 times from the same period… They plan to investigate what caused the spike in radiation.
Rossiya Segodnya (Russian gov’t news agency) – Sputnik: Red Alert! Radiation Spike Registered Under Fukushima Nuclear Plant — A sharp increase in radiation levels was detected in one of the underground tunnels at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to media reports. According to a press release issued by TEPCO, Fukushima plant’s operator, the water samples retrieved from the tunnels on December 3rd contained 482,000 becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium and about 500,000 of beta-ray-emitting substance becquerels per liter of a beta-ray-emitting substance, which is about 4,000-4,100 times higher compared to the samples taken a year ago, Japanese NHK TV channel reports.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (translated by Google), Dec 9, 2015: About the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, we will inform you as follows… As part of the accumulated water survey in the trench duct that is connected to each building, it is a confirmation of the radioactivity concentration of appropriate standing water, but the waste treatment building between the contact duct taken on December 3 analytical results of stagnant water is, ensure that it is following values.
Cesium-134: 9.2 × 10^4 Bq/L [92,000 Bq/L]
Cesium-137: 3.9 × 10^5 Bq/L [390,000 Bq/L]
All beta: 5.0 × 10^5 Bq/L [500,000 Bq/L]
Tritium: 6.7 × 10^3 Bq/L [6,700 Bq/L]
Reference (December 11… 2014):
Cesium-134: 2.7 × 10^1 Bq/L [27 Bq/L]
Cesium-137: 9.4 × 10^1 Bq/L [94 Bq/L]
All beta: 1.2 × 10^2 Bq/L [120 Bq/L]
Tritium: 3.1 × 10^2 Bq/L [310 Bq/L]
According to TEPCO’s data, total cesium increased 3,984 times (~400,000%) and all beta-emitting radionuclides including strontium-90 increased 4,167 times (~420,000%).
The total concentration of radionuclides in the Dec. 3, 2015 sample is 988,700 Bq/L or 988,700,000 Bq/m^3.
Reuters: Contamination is spreading off U.S. shores — Radioactive cesium reaches 11 Bq/m3 at multiple locations (MAP) “Very significant” explosion at dam next to U.S. nuclear site — ‘Plasma’ created due to tremendous amount of heat — Same type of phenomenon as lightning — Nuclear site’s fire department responds to blast (VIDEO) http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/explosion-washington-state-dam-injures-multiple-employees-n441456 »
Former Japan Official: “Unstoppable contamination of Pacific Ocean… is seriously menacing US West Coast” — “Fukushima now undeniably a global security issue… can’t be brought under control by single state” — Experts: Wave of radiation will be 10 times more than entire world’s nuclear tests combined
Published: December 2nd, 2015 at 7:05 am ET
Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Nov 1, 2015 (emphasis added):
The lack of the sense of crisis over Fukushima is in stark contrast to the gravity of the crisis. Fukushima is now undeniably a global security issue. The unstoppable contamination of the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere with ionizing radiation from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors is seriously menacing the West Coast of the United States. Japan should make utmost efforts to cope with the Fukushima crisis by retreating from the Tokyo Olympic Games that disseminate the false impression that Fukushima is under control.
Deteriorating situation in Fukushima — Japan is laboring under the consequences of the Accident never before experienced by humanity, including the simultaneous destruction and meltdown of three commercial nuclear reactors. Four and half years after the 3.11 disaster, it has been shown that a severe nuclear accident cannot be brought under control by a single state… It is questioned if Japan is in possession of the governability and the capacity needed to cope with the impending crisis. The melted cores of the reactors from Units 1, 2 and 3 remain inaccessible… If the molten nuclear fuel rods are exposed through cracks to the atmosphere due to a mega earthquake or the liquidization of soils on the site that could cause the collapse and breach of Fukushima’s spent fuel pools, Japan’s landmass would become uninhabitable to a large extent… The whole of Japan is threatened by the worsening situation emanating from the molten fuel rods, which continue to widely disseminate large amounts of dangerous radionuclides into the sea and atmosphere. Limitless steam observed evokes the possibility of re-criticality at the site. The undeniable necessity for international verification of the suspected re-criticality at the site should bring about the indispensable international cooperation to cope effectively with the Accident. The ongoing radioactive contamination of the sea with no prospect for a solution is dishonoring Japan, causing it to be criticized for harming the global environment. In spite of all this, attempts are shamefully being made to hide Fukushima…
World is menaced by the spreading contamination… The consequences of the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean from Japan to the West Coast of the United States are drawing increased attention. Some experts now estimate that the wave of radiation from Fukushima will be 10-times bigger than all of the radiation from the entire world’s nuclear tests throughout history combined…
The Tokyo Olympic Games belittle the Fukushima crisis — It is undeniable that the Tokyo Olympic Games constitute serious impediments for coping with the consequences of the March 11 Disaster… My interview article was published in the magazine “Monthly Japan” (September 2015). It is entitled “An honorable retreat from the Tokyo Olympic Games” and is given a central place. Reactions are noteworthy and expanding… The Tokyo Olympic Games diverts attention from Fukushima and gives the false impression to the world that Fukushima no longer poses a threat. The advancement of the Tokyo Olympic Games comes at the expense of the funds needed to address the host of environmental disasters created by the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors… The future of the Olympic Games is at stake. It is as a believer in the spirit of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement that I am pleading for an honorable retreat, and this, in order for Japan to devote maximum efforts to controlling the Fukushima crisis.
From last month: Former Japan Ambassador: Uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions could be underway at Fukushima — “Troubling indications of recurring criticality” as Tellurium-132 detected over 100 miles from plant — ‘Recriticality’ discussed by Japan’s top nuclear official
Published: December 2nd, 2015 at 7:05 am ET
TV: ‘Scary’ mystery illness killing off animals “at such a rapid rate” on West Coast — Hundreds of marine mammals found dead in small area — Gov’t Expert: “Something is likely affecting the entire ecosystem… Something is hitting them harder and faster… Something else seems to be involved” (VIDEO)
Published: October 19th, 2015 at 7:11 am ET
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Oct 8, 2015 (emphasis added): More than 200 dead or sick sea otters have been reported on beaches in [Alaska’s] Kachemak Bay region in 2015… A team of experts… are working to understand what has caused the spike in sea otter deaths and potential significance to the population… [T]he cause of death for many of the sea otters remains unknown.
Anchorage Daily News, Oct 10, 2015: Researchers see spike in Kachemak Bay sea otter deaths… [A news release from gov’t agencies] said the recent deaths and sickness could significantly affect the population.
KTVA transcript, Oct. 8, 2015: Hundreds of sea otters have been found dead in the Katchemak Bay area near Homer this year. Veterinarians at the Alaska Sea Life Center are working with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to figure out what’s making the otters so sick… It’s an unsettling mystery, killing off some of Alaska’s favorite furry animals.
KTVA, Oct 8, 2015: Unusually high number of sea otter deaths reported in Kachemak Bay… experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to figure out what’s killing off the otters at such a rapid rate. “More recently, animals have appeared otherwise healthy and seemed to have died very quickly,” said Dr. Carrie Goertz… “it’s scary to know there’s something out there in the wild that we may or may not be able to do anything about.”
Peninsula Clarion, Oct 10, 2015: Spike in otter deaths in Kachemak Bay… “They were pretty healthy-looking, other than they were dead” [said Marc Webber, U.S. Fish & Wildlife]… The otters are clearly unwell… nonresponsive and unable to move, [Dr. Carrie Goetz, SeaLife Center veterinarian] said. “There haven’t been any obvious causes of death,” Goetz said. “That’s been limiting our understanding of what’s going on.”… Reports of dead animals of multiple species have risen in the Kachemak Bay area in the last few months, including birds and barnacles… Increased numbers of dead whales had been spotted as well…
KBBI, Oct 13, 2015: [Webber said] when something is going wrong with them, something is likely affecting the entire ecosystem… [Dr. Goetz] says they’ve been tracking a streptococcus illness… But the otters that have died since August seem different. “[They] have died acutely… in the last couple of months,” Goertz said… [What Webber is] seeing seems different than what he’s seen in the past. “Something is hitting them harder and faster… something else seems to be involved,” Webber said.
AP, Oct 14, 2015: “We’re finding otters all over the Homer area”… [the] otters are turning with neurological conditions that cause them to twitch, said Webber… dying otters could be an indicator that something is wrong with the entire ecosystem, according to Webber. The Alaska Sea Life Center has been tracking a streptococcus illness… but what’s happened since August is something new, said veterinarian Cari Goertz…
USGS California Sea Otter Stranding Network 2014 Stranding Summary: The number of sea otter strandings in 2014 (386) was the highest on record, 18 above the 368 sea otters that stranded in 2012. There were 340 strandings in 2013… A stranded sea otter is one that washes ashore dead or alive… NOTE: Stranding numbers only account for sea otters that people find… possibly less than 50% of sea otters that die in the wild end up on the beach…
Watch KTVA’s broadcast here
Published: October 19th, 2015 at 7:11 am ET
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CBS: Officials alarmed as several types of marine mammals begin washing up in California — “Now entire coast is being affected” — “Whole population getting hit hard… a real shock to us” — Animals of all ages sick, not only newborns — “Really hard to wrap our heads around what’s happening” (VIDEO)
Published: February 2nd, 2015 at 9:37 am ET
Orange County Register, Jan 25, 2015 (emphasis added): … Marine mammal experts say the numbers could hit even higher levels than in 2013 [a record-setting year for sea lion strandings], which federal officials called an unusual mortality event… The difference this year: Starving pups showed up as early as December. Sick females and juveniles are also being found… “The difference [now] is we’re not just seeing little pups,” said Lauren Palmer, a veterinarian [with the Marine Mammal Center at Fort MacArthur]. “Females and yearlings are coming in… It’s really hard to wrap our head around the story of what’s happening.”…
David Bard, operations director at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, Jan 19, 2015: “What we’re seeing that’s different is we are seeing a wider array of species and age groups, so in other words [in 2013] we were seeing primarily California sea lion pups, this year we’re also seeing harbor seals and fur seals as well as some sub-adults and adults.”
Daily Breeze, Jan 19, 2015: This year, [Bard] said, there is more diversity among the animals being brought in. “There was a distinct pattern in 2013 of malnourished (sea lion) pups,” he said. This year, harbor seals and adult animals are also affected. “We’re looking at that and any other red flags so that as we move further into the season we may get more answers.”
L.A. Times, Jan 30, 2015: [P]ups aren’t the only ones in trouble. California marine mammal rehabilitation centers this month have treated record numbers of sea lions of all ages… “We’ve had 67 strandings of sea lions of all different ages,” said Johnson… “The whole population is getting hit hard… It’s a real shock to us,” he added. The story’s much the same in Southern California. “It’s shaping up to be a very, very bad year as far as rehabilitation,” said David Bard, operations director at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro. There were 75 animals at the center as of the end of January. Like its sister center in Sausalito, the facility was seeing a wider age range of sea lions in January, as well as a greater cross-section of species.
KPCC, Jan 27, 2015: [Justin Viezbicke, California Stranding Network coordinator for National Marine Fisheries Service said] numbers include more older animals than are usually found.
Laguna Beach Independent, Jan 19, 2015: So far this year, [the Pacific Marine Mammal Center] has also seen an increase in adult sea lion rescues needing medical care. “We are concerned”… executive director Keith Matassa said.
Reuters, Jan 29, 2015: … emaciated adults are also turning up, Matassa said.
CBS Los Angeles, Jan 27, 2015: Further alarming the center’s experts is an influx of varying species, according to Executive Director Keith Matassa. “The difference this year is we’re also seeing different species we don’t normally see down here,” Matassa said. In 2013, a record-setting year, the problem of sea lions coming ashore was limited mostly to Southern California, but now the entire coast is being affected, Matassa said.