Friday, June 01, 2007

Recent dead animals on the beach: at least 5 seals (I've lost count), many Humboldt squid, and one pelican.

Today feels muggy. I guess we don't know what "muggy"means anymore.

I haven't seen any, but Humboldt squid have been washing ashore all month, from San Diego to Encinitas. It's not clear why they're washing ashore, although according to the Tribune, it might have something to do with El Niño weather patterns. Squid usually come north from Mexico in advance of major tropical weather. That might explain why there are so many of them here, but it doesn't explain why they're washing up on the beaches by the hundreds.

According to National Geographic, Humboldt squid beach themselves in California every few years: "
In 2002 thousands of squid filled the beach at La Jolla Cove north of San Diego, California. Last month at least 1,500 of the squid ended up on beaches between San Diego and Los Angeles." Also, the squid don't seem to be washing up dead on the shores. Instead, they swim into shallow water and get trapped on the beach.

Humboldt squid are supposedly quite aggressive. They can be "elusive and cannibalistic." According to Scott Cassell, who made a documentary about them called "Search for the Red Demon," these squid will attack. "They have a sharp beak, eight muscular arms and two retractable feeding tentacles that allow them to attack their prey with more than 40,000 needle-sharp teeth at once." Ooo!

There was a spill off the coast of Encinitas yesterday. According to the Tribune it was "somewhere between 500 to 1,000 gallons of some type of petroleum product. It smells like gasoline or diesel fuel." Scott Henry, the Chief of Encinitas fire division, said the mess is the worst spill he's seen in 27 years.

I'm not sure why the firemen are the ones dealing with a diesel spill in the ocean. The Tribune doesn't say much about wildlife, except to say that thus far "there has been no discernible impact" although the Tribune did note that a kelp bed off Beacon's Beach acted as a kind of natural barrier--that can't be good for the kelp. Mostly the article talks about how the spill cancelled the Switchfoot Bro-Am surf competition, and that the fumes of the spill are toxic and could cause health problems. Yay!

I can't find any mention of the dead seals in the news. I don't remember there being any dead seals on the beach last May, but that doesn't mean that there weren't any.


Michelle Detorie said...

the dead seals are likely related the domoic acid associated with red tides:

I heard it was worse farther south.

mike said...

No beached Sea Monkeys?! You should have read that article it was in Natty Geo the month before.

Small Fry said...

Will do.