There is no doubt we are killing our oceans and the wildlife in them. The algae blooms as well as depleting the oceans of oxygen can also contain a
deadly toxin called Democ Acid. Demoic Acid is now thought to be responsible for the deaths and sickness of hundreds of California sea lions each
year and is now beginning to affect dolphins and whales also. It causes them to have seizures and even if they survive, they are left unable to
navigate properly. Seabirds are also known to have been affected. It is thought that the chemical urea, widely used in fertilisers is to blame for
the algae blooms.
"Toxic Algae Killing West Coast Animals
Birds falling from the sky. Pelicans having seizures. Dolphins dying on beaches.
For two months, a growing number of marine mammals and birds have been dying along the California coast. About 70 dolphins have washed up on state
beaches, while more than 200 sea lions and 200 seabirds have gotten sick or died.
One of the leading suspects is domoic acid, a potent toxin that attacks the brain. The naturally occurring toxin is produced by the plankton species
The toxin moves up the food chain from the slender, glass-shelled diatoms to sardines, anchovies, crabs and other shellfish that, in turn, become
dinner for birds and marine mammals.
"There's dead pelicans on the beach, and then these weird ones having seizures," said Jay Holcomb, director of the International Bird Rescue
Research Center. "We had the public calling in, saying, 'These birds are falling out of the sky.'"
Blooms of Pseudo-nitzschia have occurred before but experts said it was only recently that sea life kills were linked to them. Scientists caution that
other types of microscopic sea life also can produce toxins.
This month record high levels of domoic acid, ranging up to 380 parts per million, have been found in mussels taken from Santa Barbara waters. The
federal alert level is 20 ppm, said Gregg Langlois, a marine biologist with the state Department of Health Services.
No human illnesses have been reported in California but state health officials advise against eating locally sport-harvested shellfish, crabs,
sardines and anchovies. Commercially harvested seafood is considered safe because it is inspected."
Although this news article is a couple of years old, the problem seems to have been getting worse each year. The time for taking action to stop the
suffering of these poor animals is long overdue before we wipe them out completely.