NPR: Starfish epidemic “moving fast” — Turning into ‘goo’ in Washington, not just Canada — “Virus, bacteria or something else entirely”? “Will it spread to other sea life and other parts of West Coast?” (AUDIO)

Published: October 14th, 2013 at 2:06 pm ET
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NPR (Northwest Public Radio), Oct. 14, 2013 – Transcript Excerpts: Scientists in two nations are on the lookout for a rapidly spreading epidemic. [...] Vancouver Aquarium biologist Jeff Marliave: “The sick ones tend to just fall apart in front of your eyes. An arm will actually break off and crawl away. They turn into goo.” [...] A big question is will the epidemic spread to other sea life and to other parts of the West Coast? [...] Marliave: “It’s moving fast” [...]

KUOW, Oct. 14, 2013: Mass Starfish Die-Off Hits Vancouver, Maybe Headed to Washington [...] “For all we know, a lot have already died and are gone,” said Marine ecologist Drew Harvell of Cornell University [...] Harvell said Olympic National Park biologists studying the more familiar ochre stars [...] report seeing about 10 percent of them with a similar infection. In October, divers with the SeaDoc Society have reported small numbers of sunflower stars and three other species of sea stars wasting away in the San Juan Islands. [...] Scientists in Washington and British Columbia are gathering sea stars [...] to find out if the wasting disease is a virus, bacteria or something else entirely. [...]

See also: "Alarming" mass die-off of starfish in areas along Canada's Pacific coast -- "They've disintegrated, now there's just goo left" -- "Appeared to melt" -- "Single arms clinging to rock faces, tube feet still moving" -- Similar reports as far away as California (VIDEO)

Full broadcast here

Published: October 14th, 2013 at 2:06 pm ET
By

54 comments

54 comments to NPR: Starfish epidemic “moving fast” — Turning into ‘goo’ in Washington, not just Canada — “Virus, bacteria or something else entirely”? “Will it spread to other sea life and other parts of West Coast?” (AUDIO)

  • Cisco Cisco

    It couldn't possibly be radiation that's killing the sea life!

    Must be one of those pesky microbes, viruses, red algae, and on and on…not the radiation. Hey, "they" say it's okay to eat fish from the Pacific, but watch out for the mercury.

    Comical, if it wasn't so sickening…


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    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

      @Cisco.. you forgot Molasses! Hey NPR, as National Public Radio, you are a bit slow to report the news. Perhaps you should assign someone to read enenews more regularly so you can catch up quicker and you get the public informed sooner… just a suggestion ;)


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    • SS4U SS4U

      Just think happy thoughts and everything will be fine. Happy thoughts, as in magical thinking. Employ this when denial simply quits working.
      Sir Richard Branson is moving to his private island in the Caribbean. He is no ones fool.
      The allergies are terrible across the nation, esp. near me. Never been this bad. Very high mold and other allergens in the air. Lots of people getting sick. I also notice some treetops have no leaves like bald spots. Weird mutations in the garden, too.

      We *know* what is happening and there is nothing we can do aboout it.


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      • unincredulous unincredulous

        Reading your post …

        A while back I applied for a job online. It said experience in art was a big plus for the job position. Then it went into a psychological questionnaire. It asked me , "Do you make people HAPPY?" and later, "Do you make people hsppier than OTHERS?" Having been told on numerous occasions that I need to be more positive, I answered both questions, and others in the most positive way possible. I was told that I was not a suitable candidate for the position.

        Never got a chance to mention my degree in art…

        At the local government career center, I attended a resume and interview workshop. I asked if I had done the right thing in being so positive. I said, "How could I be rejected for positive answers, when the computer psych analyst could not know who I am.

        The response I got was telling. The career counselor said, " Oh, yes they do know who I am." She went on to tell a story about a situation which illustrated why honesty is the best policy. I had visions of my head blowing up and staining the walls as I left.

        Be happy, be positive, it will all work out. Bullshit.


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        • unincredulous unincredulous

          BTW— The next application I filled out asked me if I thought it was acceptable to smoke marijuana or do cocaine before work or on breaks. Then it asked if I thought it was OK to sell heroin if I was not on the clock.

          …Flashback…

          Do I make people happy? Do I make people happier than other?

          I did not know how to answer the question… Do they want a happy, dope smoking, crackhead or a drug dealer to make the employer happy…or what? Honestly, I think whoever made out the application was not making me happy. So, I am sitting there thinking about Tepco, and radiation, and what AM I going to eat after I throw this application in the trashcan… and how did the guys running Japan's government answer their application questions.

          How would a starfish answer these questions? (as their heads blow up staining the ocean floor.


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    • hbjon hbjon

      It could be an attack of the dreaded invasive species that hitched a ride on the ghost ship or the dock that beached itself in Oregon.

      The Great Northwest was paradise. The most beautiful land and beaches on earth. Man has not been a good steward of Gods land.


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    • ftlt

      Cisco: Don;t be too fixated… It very well could be something else ugly killing them… Like all the iron that billionaire knob dumped in the ocean up there to test engineering climate change solution – not even a slap on the wrist for him..

      Pollution of all kinds can create diseases…

      We are a virus and it is not just the nuclear kind of virus..


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    • weeman

      The question I would ask is the aquariums and there is many on west coast, are they seeing the same effects in aquariums, as they use the same ocean water, it may be filtered but it will not remove radiation?
      You have to start somewhere to find the answers, anybody know.


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  • I live on Southern Vancouver Island. One can walk for miles along the shore without having to leave civilization. Yesterday I took a walk and noticed there was not a single starfish in the water.

    There have never been too many this close to the city, but one could always count with seeing a few of them: purple ones, orange ones, big and small. Now there was nothing.

    That brought this situation right into my own personal experience, and it's chilling.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Earlier this summer, researchers also noticed a massive die-off of starfish on the U.S. East Coast.
    http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/09/massive-starfish-die-off-baffles-scientists/

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Ordinary environmental pollution is very high on the list of suspects. But there could be other reasons.

    "Because starfish like to eat clams and oysters, fishermen who gather shellfish have tried for years to get rid of them. To kill the starfish, fishermen would catch them, slice them right in half, and throw them back in the ocean. However, because starfish can grow back parts of their bodies, they were actually increasing the number of starfish."

    http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Could out-of-control poison used by the fishing industry be behind this starfish die off?

    http://ottersandsciencenews.blogspot.ca/


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  • We had a die off one morning here in the North Sea, UK in 2010. Went a bit gooey, would slop open if you picked one up to rescue it. The seagulls weren't touching them, they rather kept looking for difficult stuff on the mud flats. Don't know if it's a tipping point in their life cycle, or just radiation plain and simple. Haven't took a geiger out there yet, but it's probably quite warm. Very few shells compared to 4yrs ago, and they're small and anaemic if you see one.


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  • Sol Man

    We can only guess what comes when bacteria/virus genomes get rearranged.


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  • pinksailmatt pinksailmatt

    But life is alot like the starfish.

    Cut a piece off and twice as much comes back.

    Like the Devil-Star.


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  • dosdos dosdos

    Don't count out the possibility of mutated strains of microbes causing this. Having lived near the Gulf Coast, I have seen massive dead zones form that would kill off a great deal of sea life. Fukushima is not the only source of pollution capable of causing massive die offs. Mankind is dumping all sorts of toxins into the ocean on just about every coast in the world. Not only is extinction accelerating, but so in mutation. Fukushima might have something to do with it, or it might not. You can suspect, but you can't deduce. Inductive logic is needed to determine the cause.


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    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      Oh, I don't know.

      A+B=C. We know A = massive ongoing radiation release. We know B = extensive scientific research into the effects of exposure to radiation, especially detailed from Chernobyl, as produced here on Enenews day after day, for over 2 1/2 years, with 10's of thousands of links to other sources.

      So I don't think it's too much of a stretch to figure out C.

      Now, we can add all the other pollution in the world, as in C+D=E, and E is just worse than C would be by itself.

      We know where this is headed. I think 5 generations is about the end of it. If more NPP's melt down, then the timetable's moved up.

      I did pick a bad time to quit drinking, that's for sure.


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  • Sickputer

    The fight against starfish by human shellfish farmers has gone on for centuries, possibly millennia. At the very least we know that man's efforts to destroy these prolific oyster-eating sea creatures has been documented for centuries.

    In 1886 fishermen and historians noticed that an influx of brackish water off Rhode Island led to a huge reduction in the Narragansett Bay starfish population.

    Human efforts and methods to control populations in shellfish areas are mainly by dredging (which can stir up human-created contaminants, underwater traps, hand collection by divers, and by using "mops" with cotton fibers that entangle the starfish. Mopped starfish are killed by troughs of boiling water on ships to prevent regeneration. Little economic value for the corpses other than some use as fertilizer.

    Ballast water from Japanese fishing boats is believed to have introduced northern Pacific starfish to Tasmania and Port Phillip Bay near Melbourne in the late 1980s (not confirmed until 1992). The population has soared to tens of millions. Eradication by poison and/or biological agents has never been feasible for starfish infestations. Australia has attempted to keep the starfish out of other areas by hand culling the starfish immigrants outside the big concentrations in Port Phillip.

    Sharks, manta rays, and Alaskan king crabs love to feed on starfish. If starfish are dying from radiation the food chain will be compromised.


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  • Sol Man

    Hope we don't turn to goo, too.


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  • Kill nuke before it kills you.

    Go to NRC meeetings, tell them you don't like them (it is perversely effective)


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  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Maybe an advanced race of starfish have arrived from another planet and are taking over the starfish niche on this planet. That's what Japanese doctors are allowed to say about that. And only that.


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  • mhocker10

    since star fish usually eat bi-valve crustateans, ie. clams, oysters, etc, they will uptake large amounts of contamination, since bi-valves filter water to feed. I think this entire issue is related to the initial fallout from the unit 3 explosion.. perhaps we are seeing the direct effects of Pu/Ur fallout on ocean life.


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  • NoNukes NoNukes

    "Sudden disappearance of sardines has serious economic and ecological effects on the B.C. coast

    BY LARRY PYNN, VANCOUVER SUN OCTOBER 14, 2013

    A $32-million commercial fishery has inexplicably and completely collapsed this year on the B.C. coast.

    The sardine seine fleet has gone home after failing to catch a single fish. And the commercial disappearance of the small schooling fish is having repercussions all the way up the food chain to threatened humpback whales.

    Jim Darling, a Tofino-based whale biologist with the Pacific Wildlife Foundation, said in an interview Monday that humpbacks typically number in the hundreds near the west coast of Vancouver Island in summer. They were observed only sporadically this year, including by the commercial whale-watching industry.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Sudden%20disappearance%20sardines%20serious%20economic%20ecological/9034961/story.html


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Massive negative impacts! :(

    Ocean Food Chain Collapse.. appears to have started/begun..


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  • Skip Intro Skip Intro

    Since it is well known that exposure to even low-level radiation stresses organisms' immune systems, the claim that the starfish or sardines are dying of viral or microbial causes does not absolve the genocidal monsters of Tepco. In a decade, the doctors who lied for the plutonium pushers will commit seppuku, voluntarily or not.


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  • Sickputer

    SP: Regarding ocean discharges… let's not forget the French purveyors of plutonium who sold the hot MOX fuel to Japan that blew up at Fukushima.

    Areva discharges toxic "low level" waste water which pours out into the English Channel from Areva’s Normandy disposal unit. Sneaky little bastards legally using an underwater pipeline for 5,000 meters into the Channel. Leukemia rates are soaring among the poor Dutch.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2011/04/25/french-plan-to-clean-fukushimas-radioactive-water-detailed-including-risks/

    Excerpt: "That’s where Areva runs afoul of Greenpeace and PSR: “The liquid discharges from La Hague have resulted in contamination of area beaches and of seas as far as away as the Arctic Circle and are considered among the ten main anthropogenic sources of radioactive pollution of the world’s oceans.”

    Health researchers have documented higher rates of leukemia near La Hague…"


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  • Marushka Marushka

    Radioisotopes accelerates mutations of virus, bacteria…
    Section 11 , part of chapter 3 includes some understanding… this is also true for Fukushima and all nuclear emissions:

    "11. Chernobyl’s Radioactive Impact on Microbial Biota……..

    The ultimate long-term consequences for the Chernobyl microbiologic biota may be worse than what we know today. Compared to humans and other mammals, the profound changes that take place among these small live organisms with rapid reproductive turnover do not bode well for the health and survival of other species.

    One gram of soil contains some 2,500,000,000 microorganisms (bacteria,microfungi, and protozoa). Up to 3 kg of the mass of an adult human body is made up of bacteria, viruses, and microfungi. In spite of the fact that these represent such important and fundamentally live ecosystems there are only scarce data on the various microbiological consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe…."

    “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment"
    by Alexey Yablokov, Vasily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko
    NY Academy of Sciences, Volume 1181, 2009.
    5,000 Slavic language studies reviews, over 1,400 cited.
    http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov_Chernobyl_book.pdf hard copy now available at Greko Printing P:734.453.0341; email:orders@grekoprinting.com


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