Rick Spilman

Rick Spilman
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
March 25
I am the author of a nautical thriller set in the last days of sail, Hell Around the Horn. I also the host of the Old Salt Blog. I have a background in ship operations, banking and corporate communications. I am an avid sailor and kayaker.

Editor’s Pick
MAY 8, 2012 11:03AM

Dolphins and Birds Dying on the Coast of Peru – No Clear Answer Why

Rate: 6 Flag

Photo: Peru21

Something is terribly wrong on the coast of Peru.  At least 877 dolphins and more than 1,500 birds, most of them brown pelicans and boobies, have died along the coast since February when the government started tracking the deaths. The government says that the deaths of the dolphins and birds are unrelated.  The dolphin deaths have been blamed on the morbillivirus, while the bird deaths are blamed on starvation from a shortage of anchoveta, a fish of the anchovy family.  Reportedly, the recent El Niño has raised coastal water temperatures causing the fish to stay in deeper colder waters beyond the reach of the sea birds.  Now, three months after Peruvian government officials began testing the dead dolphins and pelicans, no definitive results have been released, and there is growing suspicion among the public and scientists that there might be more to the story.

Dead Dolphins and Birds Are Causing Alarm in Peru

Mr. Ă‘iquen RenterĂ­a, 57, from Puerto Eten, who fishes for small sharks and flatfish, contends that the government is underestimating the extent of the dolphin deaths. He said by telephone that he had seen at least 3,000 dead dolphins on the beach since November and that they were still dying, although no longer in such large numbers.

The Peruvian news media have raised the possibility that pesticides could be poisoning the animals. Pedro Alva, president of the Regional Development Institute of the Lambayeque region, suggested that raw sewage or another effluent could be the culprit. 

“It’s unbearable to walk around those areas,” Mr. Alva said of the rapidly growing towns along the coast. “They dump both their industrial and residential wastes into the ocean without control, without consideration.”

Sophie Bertrand, a marine ecologist at the Research Institute for Development in France who is leading a research project on seabirds and sea lions in Peru, said that if there was a common factor linking the die-offs, it would probably be found in the anchoveta, eaten by all of the species concerned.

Video from last February:

Shocking video as hundreds of dead dolphins wash ashore in Peru

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Mass animal die offs are occurring all over the world, but yes, especially in Peru.

should give us all pause.
I saw a piece on this on the news the other day. It featured the pelicans. Very hard to believe the die-offs are unrelated. Dumping raw sewage and industrial waste into the ocean makes a couple of likely suspects.
for some time i have been doing research on seaweed harvesting - now what possible link may this have with marine wildlife deaths in peru?
My reading has shown that seaweeds remove up to 89% of all nitrates and phosphates passing over and though - many toxins and other substances are a so removed - Peru banned seaweed harvesting in 2009 - why? because the companies concerned were removing far too much - nearly every country with a seaboard has turned their seaweed beds over to the companies doing the harvesting - in Norway the company concerned even has a link on the fiskeriedirektoratets home page. They control the harvest and everything to do with it.
At a recent conference on this subject a paper on seabirds - in particular cormorants was presented which clearly demonstrated that the birds cannot survive without the seaweed - the companys representatives were present and one was furious calling the paper unscientific and more.
France has now huge problems with seaweed - a type the seaweed harvesters dont like has replaced the one theyve taken out - it is a type of ulva - it leaves the seabed when it gets warm, floats to the surface and washes ashore in huge drifts - these drifts decompose anarobically releasing hydrogen sulphide which is 5 times more poisonous than cyanide gas - 1 man dead, and many animals.
this same algae is now washing up on the channel coast of the uk -
The same algae also caused a huge problem, fact is, still causing a huge problem in the yellow sea - the slick is estimated at 40,000 kilometres. This may not be directly associated with seaweed harvesting but it has it is definatly linked
Perhaps the big question is what can you do?
Simply do what im doing, find out for yourself and post on blogs and noticeboards - this is a subject that needs airing, sooner or later the big networks will pick up on this and maybe something will be done.
Awful. The world is clearly not in balance.
They should check with Merck on a vax. ;)
Did we check with BP yet? Oil and water just don't mix unless...
Ummmm. Japan has been leaking radioactive water from their damaged nuclear reactors for over a year now. It is stated it is not a harmful amount now, but....should anyone believe that necessarily? Of course not.
Die offs of food from radiation, radiation poisoning along the food chain-- it goes along with the schedule of drift of debris, etc. floating across from the tsunami...
No news about Japan mainstream in ages....
So, yes. This is my best guess.
So alarming!!!
"No news about Japan *in mainstream news* in ages....is what I meant.
There are several theories floating around and not one has been proven inconclusively.

On an aside, scientests are re-testing their studies on the disappearance of honey bee colonies in the United States, where there were previously inconclusive as well.