Toxin found in sardines that clogged US marina

Mar 12, 2011

(AP) -- The millions of sardines that were found floating dead in a Southern California marina this week tested positive for a powerful neurotoxin, researchers said Friday.

High levels of domoic acid were found in the , which may have distressed them off the Los Angeles coastline and caused them to swim into the Redondo Beach marina, University of Southern California biologist David Caron wrote in a summary of his laboratory's findings which were reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Caron said that he still believes that critically low in the water caused the sardines to suffocate, but it's possible the toxin may have been one explanation for why they crowded into the marina.

The California Department of Fish and Game has blamed the die-off on and is also testing fish for toxins at its animal forensics laboratory. Results are not expected until next week.

Domoic acid is often found in the stomach of fish that have been feeding on plankton during toxic algae blooms. The toxin has been linked to neurological disorders, illnesses and deaths in seabirds, , sea otters and whales.

Caron's lab is working to determine if the poisoning was caused by a toxic algae bloom spotted off Redondo Beach on Wednesday.

The presence of the in the sardines could lead to health complications for pelicans, gulls and other sea life that have been feasting on the dead fish.

"There were tons of birds feeding on these fish and it's conceivable that we'll see some bird mortality as a result," Caron said.

The fish died late Monday and carpeted the water's surface the next morning, stacking up to 2 feet deep in some places. Crews have already scooped and hauled away more than 85 tons of fish to a composting center where they will turn into fertilizer.

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ormondotvos
not rated yet Mar 13, 2011

Let's compost them and grow vegetables in the compost:

"In mammals, including humans, domoic acid acts as a neurotoxin, causing short-term memory loss, brain damage and, in severe cases, death. DA-producing algal blooms are associated with the phenomenon of amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). In marine mammals, domoic acid typically causes seizures and tremors. In the brain, domoic acid especially damages the hippocampus and amygdaloid nucleus. It damages the neurons by activating AMPA and kainate receptors, causing an influx of calcium. Although calcium flowing into cells is a normal event, the uncontrolled increase of calcium causes the cell to degenerate. Because the hippocampus may be severely damaged, short-term memory loss occurs."
jmcanoy1860
not rated yet Mar 14, 2011
Sushi dinner for Congress. Oh wait....they are already brain damaged.