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Hundreds of lifeless fish in San Francisco Bay Space blamed on poisonous pink tide

An unprecedented pink tide within the San Francisco Bay Space is killing hundreds of fish and different marine life whose carcasses are washing ashore, making a foul odor that consultants say might worsen throughout this weekend’s anticipated warmth wave.

At Oakland’s Lake Merritt, a preferred spot for joggers, walkers and people trying to be in nature, crews on Wednesday started eradicating lifeless crabs, bat rays, striped bass and different fish that started piling up on its rocky shores over the weekend.

The fish die-off at Lake Merritt and all through the Bay Space could also be as a result of a dangerous algae bloom that has been spreading within the area since late July, mentioned Eileen White, government officer of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water High quality Management Board.

“We usually have algae blooms through the summertime. However what’s uncommon about this one is how massive it’s and the truth that there are fish kills,” White mentioned.

Most algae blooms finish after every week or so. However a triple-digit warmth wave forecast for the vacation weekend could assist the Bay Space’s develop much more, White mentioned. She mentioned that studies of lifeless fish began coming in final week.

“This was a pure incidence of Mom Nature, and so we don’t know when it’s going to finish,” she mentioned

A microorganism referred to as Heterosigma akashiwo fashioned a bloom first noticed within the Alameda Estuary, White mentioned. It’s current within the bay on a regular basis, however scientists try to find out what brought about it to unfold to this point and extensive and for therefore many weeks.

They are saying a years-long drought has prevented stagnant water from flowing into the ocean and unseasonably heat and sunny climate could also be serving to the algae unfold.

Jon Rosenfield, a scientist with the San Francisco Baykeeper conservation group, mentioned excessive ranges of vitamins like phosphorus and nitrogen in wastewater additionally drive the expansion of algae blooms.

“The one lever that we have now to regulate the issue is to scale back vitamins put into the bay from the 40 wastewater therapy vegetation that function across the bay,” he mentioned.

Rosenfield mentioned sewage therapy vegetation are cleansing the water of strong materials and micro organism, however they’re not designed to drag out nitrogen and phosphorus.

Treating the water for vitamins would value billions of {dollars}, and people prices could be handed on to residents, White mentioned. She mentioned water districts are funding research to know the consequences of vitamins which were current within the water since individuals settled within the space.

“The aim is to make the suitable laws primarily based on sound science,” White mentioned.

Consultants are additionally attempting to find out what precisely is killing the fish.

Algae blooms produce a toxin that’s deadly to fish and different marine life, and as they unfold, micro organism within the water begin to devour the algae. Because it decays, it depletes the water of oxygen, inflicting the fish to suffocate, Rosenfield mentioned.

“Which of these mechanisms is working right here, the toxin or the low dissolved oxygen? We simply don’t know but,” he mentioned.

Algae bloom has been reported in Contra Costa and Marin counties to the north and San Mateo County to the west. Within the South Bay, concentrations of chlorophyll — an indicator of algae density —measured on Aug. 10 have been the very best noticed in additional than 40 years, White mentioned.

In Oakland, individuals turned to social media to publish pictures of a few of the hundreds of lifeless fish at Lake Merritt, a tidal lagoon of the bay, the place guests have began complaining concerning the stench.

“It doesn’t scent excellent proper now, so it’s a little bit of a nuisance,” mentioned Graham Webster, who jogs across the lake a few times every week.

“However the larger query is what’s occurring to the lake and the bay? And what’s inflicting it? Is it our fault? Can it’s fastened?” he requested.

White mentioned the algae isn’t recognized to be poisonous to individuals, however could cause pores and skin and eye irritation. Her workplace is recommending individuals and pets keep out of any water that appears reddish-brown.

Cely Aquino mentioned she visits Lake Merritt usually and seeing all of the lifeless fish was unhappy.

“I noticed a number of the lifeless fish, and I noticed a few stingrays that have been lifeless additionally. It’s fairly unhappy,” she mentioned. “However I determine nature it’s going to deal with all of it.”



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