The first two whale deaths reported in May sparked a flurry of attention from government agencies, including the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
No one knows what caused the death of the whales; however, scientists are narrowing in on the kernel of truth as they weed out possibilities. What scientists do know is that all the whales appear to have died around the same time.
Warmth-induced algae blooms theory debunked
The Gulf of Alaska waters have been warm lately. A working hypothesis was that the whales were dying from domoic acid, which is a toxin produced by warmth-induced algae blooms. This did not seem entirely implausible, since the whales share similar eating habits. Nevertheless, this hypothesis was ruled out after test results taken from a partially decomposing fin whale carcass came back negative.
Samples have only been taken from one whale carcass so far. Researchers are still awaiting the results on two others tests for paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and cesium-137.
“We do not have conclusive evidence to link their mortality to algal blooms but continue to sample water/plankton/shellfish with a network of folks statewide,” Kate Wynne, a marine mammal specialist investigating the whale deaths, told sources in an email. “Hopefully, by monitoring current conditions and tracking/recording carcasses, we will be quicker to note and respond to a future event if it happens.”
The mainstream media has cited a rise in ocean temperatures and acidity as possible causes of the whale deaths while ignoring the presence of cesium-137, a radioactive isotope with a 30-year half-life released from Fukushima.
To learn more about how radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant could be affecting the Pacific Ocean, continue reading at FukushimaWatch.com.