The fish die-offs in Canada off the coast of western Nova Scotia continue to baffle experts and scientists alike as they haven’t been able to pinpoint to a specific reason – environmental or otherwise – behind these deaths.
Officials at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have been carrying out tests for temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen to determine the cause for quite some time now, but they haven’t been able to determine what caused deaths of thousands of herring and other marine creatures washing ashore in western Nova Scotia. All the preliminary test results came back normal.
Scientists also carried out camera scan of the bottom of St. Marys Bay, but the scan also showed normal marine activity with abundance of live lobster in the area. Tests for disease, parasites or toxins haven’t come up with anything either.
Kent Smedbol, manager of population ecology for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, personally believes though they aren’t able to find a particular reason behind the die-offs these deaths aren’t a point concern at this point.
“We’re seeing multiple species throughout that area. We started to see them late last week … but over the last 48 hours, we’ve been seeing more significant reports,” said Doug Wentzell, regional director of fisheries management for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Since late November, dead herring have been found in a 60-mile swath from St. Marys Bay to Tusket, with most found between the mouth of the Sissiboo River and Plympton.
More recently, scores of starfish, clams and lobster have also littered the shoreline and a dead whale also washed ashore on a beach in Whale Cove. Derreck Parsons, a senior compliance program officer for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said surveys don’t show any new die-offs or actively dying fish.
But the investigation continues.
Alain Vezina, director of science for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said he is in the process of contacting officials at the U.S. National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration and in the United Kingdom to seek potential help.