Large fish kill investigated in Canada

HALIFX, Nova Scotia — Canadian fisheries officials say weeks of testing have failed to point to an environmental problem as the cause for thousands of dead herring and other marine creatures washing ashore in western Nova Scotia.

Kent Smedbol, manager of population ecology for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says while the lack of an obvious cause is perplexing, he doesn’t personally believe there is cause for concern at this point.

Smedbol says scientists conducted testing on the Bay of Fundy Thursday and preliminary results for temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen came back normal. A camera scan of the bottom of St. Marys Bay also showed normal conditions and an abundance of live lobster in the area.

To date, Smedbol says scientists have not turned up evidence of disease, parasites or toxins.

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 dieoffs 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.

 

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