Several days ago, I told you that federal officials have joined an investigation into the mysterious deaths of young harbor seals, bluefin tuna and birds on beaches across New England. It now turns out that the situation is getting much worse.
Around 50 dead harbor seals, mostly pups, have washed up on beaches in Maine, New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts recently, prompting an investigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the New England Aquarium. Goethel said she did not know if the bluefin tuna was related to those deaths or if it was simply a “confluence of bizarre events. “It worries me. My gut feeling is we’ve got something going on,” she said. She noted that when she found a dead seal in Hampton, there were five dead sea birds within an eighth of a mile. Goethel said red tide and malnutrition have been ruled out as the cause of the deaths. A spokesman for the New England Aquarium told the Portsmouth Herald earlier this week that pathology tests will show whether disease may be the root of the problem. Results are expected early next week. Goethel said her biggest concern is the health risk posed to humans. She said dead seals pose more of a health risk than the bluefin tuna and recommended that people stay away from the carcasses as required by federal law. The bluefin remains on the beach for the time being. “It may be disposed of but it’s not as much a danger to human health as the seals and the birds,” she said. - Seacoastonline.
A dead eight-foot-long bluefin tuna washed up on a beach in New Hampshire Wednesday, the latest of a number of sea creatures whose bodies have mysteriously washed up on the state’s shore. “All of this together is very concerning,” said Ellen Goethel, a marine biologist and vice chair of the Hampton Conservation Commission. Goethel’s 31-year-old son found the tuna when he was walking Plaice Cove Beach in Hampton. Goethel, who went to the beach to observe the fish, said she had seen five dead seabirds and three dead seals on the beach the week before. “I don’t believe that it was caught and lost. It wasn’t injured from fishing,” Goethel said. The New England Aquarium said last week that a dozen seal pups had washed up on the state’s beaches. The aquarium is conducting tests on the creatures to determine if disease could be the cause of death. The tests are not expected back until Thursday, Tony LaCasse, spokesman for the aquarium, said today. Tests are also being conducted on the dead birds, said Allison McHale, fishery policy analyst with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Goethel is worried about the diseases the marine life may carry, such as hepatitis. She added that many locals walk their dogs on the beach on a daily basis. “My concern was to get the animals off the beach as quickly as possible,” she said. - Boston.WATCH: WMUR reports on the developing crisis of the mass animal die-off.