Thousands of shellfish found dead in Peru

May 26, 2012
A dead dolphin lying on a beach on the northern coast of Peru, close to Chiclayo, some 750 km north of Lima, in March 2012. Thousands of crustaceans were found dead off the coast of Lima following the mystery mass death of dolphins and pelicans, the Peruvian Navy said Friday.

Thousands of crustaceans were found dead off the coast of Lima following the mystery mass death of dolphins and pelicans, the Peruvian Navy said Friday.

The cause of death is under investigation, said Industry and Fishing Minister Gladys Triveno, warning that "it would be premature to give a reason for this phenomenon."

The Navy said it presented a report on the find to the Agency of Environmental Evaluation and Control to determine the cause.

Biologist Yuri Hooker of Cayetano Heredia University said the species found on Pucusana Beach, 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Lima, was a type of red about three centimeters (1.2 inches) long.

"They live mostly along the coast of Chile up to the coast of northern Peru. What is happening is that these crustaceans are being affected by the warming of Pacific waters in the north of the country," he said, adding that the phenomenon occurs "with some frequency."

Hooker explained that the warmer temperatures led the shrimp-like creatures that usually live far away from the coast to move in closer to land, where they died.

Nearly 900 dolphins washed up along Peru's northern coast between February and April. A said the marine mammals died of natural causes, while environmental groups insist the massive toll was linked to offshore oil exploration in the area.

Peruvian officials have suggested that the dolphins, along with 5,000 dead -- mostly -- died due to the effects of rising temperatures in Pacific waters, including the southern migration of fish eaten by the birds.

Explore further: Declining catch rates in Caribbean green turtle fishery may be result of overfishing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peru says 5,000 birds, nearly 900 dolphins dead

May 09, 2012

The Peruvian government said Wednesday that 5,000 birds, mostly pelicans, and nearly 900 dolphins have died off the country's northern coast, possibly due to rising temperatures in Pacific waters.

Peru probes mystery pelican deaths

May 01, 2012

A team of ornithologists were investigating the mysterious death of nearly 600 sea birds found on the beaches of northern Peru, government officials said.

Thousands of birds found dead on Chile beaches

May 12, 2012

About 2,000 birds were found dead on beaches in central Chile, a natural history museum director said Friday, accusing fishermen of snagging them in their nets and letting them drown.

Recommended for you

Japan lawmakers demand continued whaling

7 hours ago

Japanese lawmakers on Wednesday demanded the government redesign its "research" whaling programme to circumvent an international court ruling that described the programme as a commercial hunt dressed up as ...

EU must take urgent action on invasive species

10 hours ago

The EU must take urgent action to halt the spread of invasive species that are threatening native plants and animals across Europe, according to a scientist from Queen's University Belfast.

User comments : 7

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lurker2358
1 / 5 (1) May 26, 2012
Peruvian officials have suggested that the dolphins, along with 5,000 dead sea birds -- mostly pelicans -- died due to the effects of rising temperatures in Pacific waters, including the southern migration of fish eaten by the birds.


This is a weird conclusion.

Are the animals malnutritioned, or do they simply appear to have "died" of some environmental shock. Surely you could tell if they died from oxygen depletion or a trace chemical if the corpses were found early enough before decomposition started.

The water temperatures aren't changing rapidly enough to destroy macroscopic organisms directly, since they could just move to a cooler area of the ocean. It would require some sort of food shortage or nutrient shortage related to warming, which should be traceable.

I mean look around. Is the plankton and algae and kelp forests dead? is something else in the food chain dead?

It is very odd that so many types of organisms are having mass kills in that one area...
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (2) May 26, 2012
...odd...

dolphins, pelicans, dogs (possibly feeding on the corpses of he ocean life and birds,) and now shellfish (which are your scavengers and bottom feeders).

so we have predators and scavengers getting sick and death with no apparent pathogen, so what happened to the food chain or the oxygen concentration or the acid or something like that?

What about something hard to detect, such as an unknown prion, or a methane bomb or some crap like that?

I'm not saying the temperature has nothing to do with it, but I doubt 0.1C per decade has suddenly killed all of those creatures of different phyla and genus and species directly. Heck, dogs, birds, and dolphins adapt to huge temperature changes, or can just leave the area and go some place else....0.1C per decade doesn't explain that at all.
kaasinees
2 / 5 (4) May 26, 2012
Hypoxia wouldn't be so strange considering we burn a lot of oxygen and the overshot oxygen combining with carbon overshot in the air.
I notice it in my pond, air pumping doesn't work properly anymore and i noticed an algal bloom and i am clueless what to do with my pond now since this never happened before.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) May 26, 2012
A Russian satellite full of hydrazine was recently dumped into the SE Pacific.
The Russians claimed the hydrazine burned in reentry.
Did it?
fnnkybutt
5 / 5 (1) May 26, 2012
The warmer waters they're talking about in this article isn't because of climate change, but because of the El Nino current that is occurring at this moment in the Pacific - the water has stayed warmer longer, the summer on land has lasted longer.

What I don't understand about his shellfish die-off - it it is because of the warmer water, why would they move to the coast? They should have moved off shore to deeper (cooler) water, or to the south.

I don't remember mass die offs like this during the last El Nino.
Quarky1
1 / 5 (1) May 26, 2012
@Lurker2358 - My guess is it's lots of petrochemical byproducts like is poisoning fish over by the BP spill in the Gulf. I believe that also caused millions of shrimp to be born without eyes, they were caught by local fishermen, something like 2-3 months ago I think...I really wonder how close we are to making the entire ocean food chain collapse (we're all totally boned if that happens). From what I understand, scientists are really worried that acidification of the ocean will kill all of the world's plankton soon, or at least really mess them up. Yikes.
alfie_null
not rated yet May 27, 2012
Russian satellite full of hydrazine ...

Are you referring to Phobos-Grunt (which happened more than four months ago)?
Does hydrazine persist in such an environment for a long time (e.g. like dioxins)? Or is it highly reactive?
If we assume the full tank of hydrazine was dumped into the ocean and it persists:
How much water is in the southeast Pacific?

More news stories

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.