Marine Biologist: All the sea stars along west coast of North America could be wiped out — Some developing ‘bald spots’; “Others look completely healthy except for guts coming out” — ‘Speculation’ it could be related to Fukushima
December 12th, 2013
Times Colonist, Dec. 10, 2013: […] The mysterious illness has the potential to wipe out all the sea stars along the west coast of North America, said Paula Romagosa, a marine biologist and curator at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney. “Events like this have happened before but on a much smaller scale. We’ve never seen one of this magnitude.” The die-off of sea stars was first detected in August in small pockets in Howe Sound, off West Vancouver and in Indian Arm. Since then, the extensive die-off has been reported along the shoreline from Alaska to California. […] The virus affects the animals in different ways. A sea star at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre showed it was unwell by developing a bald spot. […] Others look completely healthy except for their guts coming out in strings. […] There is speculation that the die-off could be due to water-borne radiation originating from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Romagosa said that doesn’t sound likely because the first place it was seen was in a remote area of Indian Arm and not the west coast. […] “It could be chemicals that are released into the water from pulp mills or factories” […]
Chemicals released into Vancouver waters could be causing this unprecedented die-off stretching from Mexico to Alaska? Though the leading edge of Fukushima’s radioactive particles may be just now arriving on North American shores via the ocean, see the list of links below for data on airborne contamination on the west coast that occurred soon after 3/11.
Cedar Street Times, Dec. 7, 2013 (emphasis added): Here in Pacific Grove, [Pacific Grove resident John Pearse, a Professor Emeritus from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz] reports that divers have spotted diseased sea stars in the kelp forest near Hopkins Marine Lab. “They recently told me that there are almost no stars left except bat stars that seem to be more resistant,” states Pearse. […] In the face of speculation that […] Fukashima* radioactivity may be affecting our area, Pearse says no […] “It is my understanding that there has been little or no detectable increase in radioactivity on our coast since that disaster. Yes, some fish that swim across the ocean have detectable radionuclides (cesium-137) that almost certainly came from Fukashima*, but I don’t think they have been detected in intertidal animals such as sea stars (along our coast).