MY NOTES AND THINGS THAT I FEEL ARE VERY IMPORTANT ARE HIGHLIGHTED IN YELLOW.
Biological Hazard in Australia on Thursday, 24 January, 2013 at 04:15 (04:15 AM) UTC.
HOW IS IT THAT A BIO HAZARD HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE FOLLOWING WHEN THE FOLLOWING IS BLAMED ON STORMY WEATHER?
Thousands of dead starfish wash up on Lincolnshire beach following stormy weather
- Whelk eggs and shells were also washed ashore at Cleethorpes
- Conservationists said 'strandings' have happened before
- It's thought rough seas in shallow water may have dislodged them
Thousands of dead starfish have washed up on a beach in Lincolnshire after a period of stormy weather.
Shocked photographer Simon Peck estimates that 4,000 starfish - along with whelks' eggs and pieces of shell - had surfaced on Cleethorpes beach.
Experts think that the animals were dislodged by rough waters in the recent wintry weather, with a similar incident happening at the same time last year.
Puzzle: Photographer Simon Peck was shocked to find around 4,000 starfish and bits of shell on the beach
Wetlands: Whelks' eggs also appeared at Cleethorpes beach. In the past, sea potatoes have washed up
Poignant: It's thought that rough seas dislodged the sea creatures at a sandy part of the coastline
Richard Harrington, communications manager at the Marine Conservation Society, said: 'These are all common starfish Asterias rubens.
'The fact that there's what appear to be whelk eggs and different shells in these pictures, both shallow water residents, along with the common starfish, would back up the likelihood that it is simply stormy weather that has caused this big strand.
'We were aware of a strand like this in the region at this time last year, too.
'Mass strandings of starfish and sea potatoes, a kind of sand-dwelling sea urchin, happen quite regularly in different parts of the coast.
'They seem to occur most in winter, and around sandy areas, when it's likely that rough seas in shallow water dislodge them in large numbers.
'Strandings like this may be associated with breeding, indicated if all of the specimens that washed up are mature adults, but the common starfish tends to aggregate and spawn most in spring and summer - so that is unlikely.'
Millions of common starfish live in British seas. About the size of a hand, they are pinky orange when alive, but turn a bright orange when dry.
Their ideal feeding ground is a mussel bed, where millions of starfish will congregate at any one time. And it's here where they are most at risk.
Violent storms can send terrifically strong currents through the mussel beds where they are feeding, pluck them off their prey, carry them to the shore and dump thousands at a time on to a beach.
In the past, some mass strandings have been blamed on overfishing - with dredgers used to scrape the sea floor for mussels dislodging starfish or covering them with mud and sand.
(MY NOTE: THEY JUST BLAMED THIS ON STORMY WEATHER)
Coastal confusion: Similar 'mass strandings' have happened in the past - mostly in winter, around sandy areas
Strange: A similar stranding was seen last year. Sometimes they happen in Spring during breeding season
Although tides and strong currents are the most likely cause of this recent mass stranding, in a similar incident in Japan last year, starvation was to blame.
SO, I WAS WONDERING HOW THE WATER COULD ACTUALLY HAVE LESS OXYGEN, AS MANY OF THESE WATER DWELLING CREATURES DEATHS ARE BEING BLAMED ON LESS OXYGEN...
"Oxygen depletion can result from a number of natural factors, but is most often a concern as a consequence of pollution and eutrophication in which plant nutrients enter a river, lake, or ocean, andphytoplankton blooms are encouraged. While phytoplankton, through photosynthesis, will raise DO saturation during daylight hours, the dense population of a bloom reduces DO saturation during the night by respiration. When phytoplankton cells die, they sink towards the bottom and are decomposed by bacteria, a process that further reduces DO in the water column. If oxygen depletion progresses to hypoxia, fish kills can occur and invertebrates like worms and clams on the bottom may be killed as well.
Hypoxia may also occur in the absence of pollutants. In estuaries, for example, because freshwater flowing from a river into the sea is less dense than salt water, stratification in the water column can result. Vertical mixing between the water bodies is therefore reduced, restricting the supply of oxygen from the surface waters to the more saline bottom waters. The oxygen concentration in the bottom layer may then become low enough for hypoxia to occur. Areas particularly prone to this include shallow waters of semi-enclosed water bodies such as the Waddenzee or the Gulf of Mexico, where land run-off is substantial. In these areas a so-called "dead zone" can be created. The World Resources Institute has identified 375 hypoxic coastal zones around the world, concentrated in coastal areas in Western Europe, the Eastern and Southern coasts of the US, and East Asia, particularly in Japan.
Hypoxia may also be the explanation for periodic phenomena such as the Mobile Bay jubilee, where aquatic life suddenly rushes to the shallows, perhaps trying to escape oxygen-depleted water. Recent widespread shellfish kills near the coasts of Oregon and Washington are also blamed on cyclic dead zone ecology."
THEN I WONDER, CAN THE VOLCANIC ACTIVITY HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT IS GOING ON IN ICELAND WITH THAT HUGE FISH DIE OFF RIGHT NOW. CAN THAT TAKE OXYGEN OUT OF THE WATER?
Dead fish raise concerns over water quality
10am: The State Labor Party members are calling on the State Government to launch an independent inquiry into whether the release of mine water into the Fitzroy River led to the death of thousands of fish.
Shadow Environment spokeswoman Jackie Trad said reports of dead fish piled along the river were extremely concerning, particularly given the government recently approved the release of toxic mine water into the Fitzroy River.
"The people of Rockhampton and surrounding communities deserve answers," Ms Trad said.
"The fact remains if the fish kill and toxic water are linked, then any of the water testing promised by the government has not made a difference.
"The people who end up drinking that water need to know the facts.
"The State Government has been arrogantly deflecting questions about the environmental and health impacts of their mine water releases which is why any investigation into these deaths must be independent.
"Any investigation should be led by experts with first-hand knowledge of the local environment and are on the ground to undertake immediate assessments."
Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne said the State Government had so far failed to consult or engage with locals about this issue, leaving the community completely in the dark.
"This government waited until late on a Friday before the Australia Day long weekend, after newsrooms had clocked-off, to announce the first release of mine water," Mr Byrne said.
"The government knows it has made an unpalatable decision that local residents completely oppose.
"Instead of forcing mining companies to deal with their own excess water, the LNP are simply allowing the problem to flow through to our local communities and local environments."
9.40am: GREENPEACE campaigner Louise Matthiesson says one of the paragraphs in this story could be read incorrectly and wishes to clarify the matter.
She is talking about this paragraph - "She believed the state government was responsible for the mass wastage of river stock because more than 20 mine sites were discharging "polluted" water into the Fitzroy River."
Ms Matthiesson says she was very careful not to say that the mine discharges are responsible for the fish kill, because there is currently no evidence of that, and there are a number of possible causes.
"I did say that the state government is responsible for investigating the cause of the fish kill. I also said it is reasonable for residents to be concerned about the discharge of polluted water from mines upstream and the impact it could have on water quality in the river."
5am: WHEN Sharon Meehan got to the Fitzroy River near her house yesterday she saw thousands of dead bodies in front of her.
Mass murder, carelessness ... call it what you want, Sharon has never seen such a disaster on this scale.
Sharon lives near the Fitzroy River in South Yaamba Road at Alton Downs.
Just yesterday she was able to get to the river, after floodwater blocked access to the bank, only to find more than a thousand fish bobbing on the water.
Some she said were lifeless on the bank, gasping for air.
She scooped up a one-metre-long catfish, dead.
"It's absolutely heartbreaking," she said.
"I have fished down here for many years and have never seen anything like this before.
"The smell is absolutely vomitous. I don't know what caused this but I know the death of so many fish has something to do with what's in the water.
"If this has happened because of mine discharges into the river then the State Government has a lot to answer for ... they're just seeing dollar signs at the end of the day."
Among the dead fish species were barramundi, bream, catfish and others.
Thousands of small dead fish were piled in Rockhampton's East Street as their bodies emerged after the water subsided.
More dead fish, in the thousands, were found wasted at Weir Park near Gogango after the floodwater receded.
Now Sharon is gravely concerned about the quality of the water, which she drinks if her tank runs out.
She is now left to pump "dirty and smelly" water from the river to her house.
"This water helps me with my everyday chores like washing the dishes, clothes and cleaning."
Queensland campaigner for Greenpeace Louise Matthiesson said she believed the State Government was responsible for the mass wastage of river stock because more than 20 mine sites were discharging "polluted" water into the Fitzroy River.
"It's very unusual for this amount of dead fish to wash up in a large body of water because it's not as confined as a small creek," Ms Matthiesson said.
"These residents, and the rest of Rockhampton, have a right to know what's going on ... we have got to get to the bottom of this
"It really stinks out here at Alton Downs and the river goes for kilometres. I don't know how much more dead fish is out there on the river bank."
Yesterday Rockhampton residents were out in force on Quay St scooping up live fish, flapping around in shallow water, and filling small bins to take home.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is working with Rockhampton Regional Council to investigate a number of fish deaths around the Rockhampton region, including South Yaamba.
"The council has advised water quality sampling to date indicates very low dissolved oxygen levels as the likely cause of the fish deaths," a department spokesman said.
"Low dissolved oxygen levels are a common, natural occurrence following significant flood events, caused by large amounts of vegetation and other organic matter being washed into waterways and decomposing.
"Because it had previously been so dry, there was significantly more organic material than usual around to be washed into the river by the rains from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald."
Massive Honeybee Die Off in Montecito
updated: Jan 30, 2013, 10:55 AM
updated: Jan 30, 2013, 10:55 AM
By Todd Bebb of Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association
Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association announces: Massive Honeybee Die Off in Montecito
Last October, SBBA was called out to several backyard beekeepers' properties in response to massive honeybee die-offs. Local amateur beekeeper, Carrie Kappel, called SBBA when she noticed hundreds of dead and dying bees outside her backyard beehive. "It was devastating to see the number of dead bees outside the hive, and watch those in their death throes, twitching and stumbling around in front of the hive, unable to fly. I watched the whole hive go from healthy and vigorous to empty over a few short weeks."
A total of 16 formerly healthy hives, with an average population of 30-60,000 bees each were lost. SBBA estimates approximately 750,000 bees lost their lives, all within a 1.5-mile radius. The Association submitted four test samples to Penn State University for a comprehensive pesticide screening and just received the reports back from the USDA labs.
As SBBA leaders suspected, there were several commonly used pesticides found in bee food stores, brood cells and wax. These include bifenthrin (found in hundreds of agricultural and household pesticide products), chlorpyrifos (used on orchards, golf courses, and crops, and banned from residential use), cyhalothrin (found in household and commercial products like Demand®, Karate®, and Warrior®), and fipronil (used in over 50 products to control ants, termites, fleas and other insects, e.g., Frontline®, Goliath®, Nexa®, and Regent®). All of these chemicals are known to be highly toxic to bees. Also found at low levels were two legal miticides used by beekeepers to control mites. While this does not prove that pesticides were behind the die-offs, it does point to them as a possible factor.
According to Penn State Senior Extension Associate, Maryann Frazier, "Honey bees across the country are being exposed to a great diversity and sometimes high levels of pesticides. While the evidence associated with the Montecito die-off is not conclusive, the symptoms of colony deaths and detections of low levels of pesticides toxic to honey bees are suspicious and cause for concern."
While SBBA is very upset about this loss, its leaders hope that by spreading the word about the die-off, community members will become more aware of the potential dangers of pesticides for honeybees and other pollinators. The organization encourages pest control companies, horticulturalists, landscape contractors and homeowners to evaluate the products that they are using and how they are being applied and work to reduce risks to honeybees and other beneficial insects.
Honeybees have been in decline worldwide. Frazier notes, "We believe that pesticide exposure is an important factor contributing to pollinator decline and possibly Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)." Colony Collapse Disorder has wiped out honeybee hives in the US and elsewhere, threatening both the viability of commercial beekeeping and the sustainability of the pollination services that honeybees provide to agricultural crops, domestic gardens, and wild plants. Whatever the cause of the Montecito die-off - whether acute pesticide poisoning, CCD, or other stresses - it may be symptomatic of a general decline in the quality of our environment for honeybees. "Honeybees and other pollinators are getting hit hard, but there are things we can do to reduce the threats to them," said SBBA President, Paul Cronshaw.
Pesticides applied to plants that are in bloom can be transferred to the hive by bees foraging for nectar and pollen, and thus the pesticides can impact the entire colony. SBBA urges Santa Barbara community members to please speak with your gardener, pest control company and anyone else that may use these products to make sure that they are being used properly. Commercial pesticides should only be applied by registered, licensed pesticide applicators. They should be applied carefully, according to the instructions on the label, and only as needed, avoiding applying them to blooming plants and at times when pollinators are active. "Working together, we can reduce both our own exposures to pesticides, and also the honeybee's, so that she may continue to help us feed the planet," says SBBA Vice President, Todd Bebb.
SBBA Mission Statement
The Santa Barbara Beekeeper's Association is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of beekeeping through best management practices, the education and mentoring of people about honey bees and beekeeping, and increasing public awareness of environmental concerns affecting honey bees.
If you have questions about bees or beekeeping, please contact SBBA. If you would like to help SBBA, a 501(c)3, fulfill its mission, please consider a donation: www.sbba.org.
Learn more about how to reduce bee poisoning from pesticides, from Oregon State University Extension:
Find out if your pesticide applicator is registered and licensed in the state of California:
Learn more from the National Pesticide Information Center:
Explore recent research linking pesticides to declines in honey bee health:
For more information on the Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association: