Pacific Apocalypse: The Great Dying Continues

A passel of starving sea lions, rescued from the beach by volunteers, in a California rehab center. They get a lot of attention because they’re cute. But crabs, oysters and anchovies are dying just as fast.

A passel of starving sea lion pups, rescued from the beach by volunteers, in a California rehab center. They get a lot of attention because they’re cute. But crabs, oysters and anchovies are dying just as fast.

The Pacific Ocean appears to be turning toxic to all life, a prospect with unimaginably dire consequences for humanity. News stories about it are fragmented, and slotted into the “Environment” category, and thus easily ignored by the rich and famous and their news channels. (Breaking News: Donald Trump Running Mate May be Caitlyn Jenner!) In just the latest manifestation of this calamity, what may be the largest bloom of toxic algae ever detected is poisoning sea life from California to British Columbia — with toxin from it detected not far off Alaska. Crab and clam fisheries have been shut down in two states so far, and the so-called red tide is still growing. In Monterey Bay, California, the concentration of domoic acid secreted by the algae is the highest ever recorded.

One of the few stories on this event to be found in the general media, on the CNBC website, is at great pains to reassure its readers that they can go about their business, nothing to see here:  the red tide “doesn’t pose a health risk to people who eat commercially caught fish,” it says in paragraph two, although it could kill people who eat crabs or shellfish; “no significant impact on commercial fishermen, who have moved on to harvesting other species” it says, mainly because the crab season is over anyway, and this will all blow over by fall, right? “Blooms are common,” it says reassuringly, then explains that this one is unique.

The CNBC piece, like most, makes only passing reference to the growing avalanche of mass deaths of marine life that have been plaguing the Pacific Coast for at least two years.

  • The Pacific population of the forage fish that form the base of the marine food chain — sardines, anchovies, and herring — has been decimated, with inevitable ill effects on the species that feed on them — salmon, sharks, whales and sea lions.
  • Not coincidentally, this is the second year in a row that record numbers of emaciated, dying sea lions have been washed ashore in California.
  • The number of bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean has declined by 95 per cent. Mexico has banned fishing for them, the United States is still thinking it over.,
  • oysters, a staple seafood product of the Pacific Northwest, have been declining in number for ten years because of rising ocean acidification related to its absorption of carbon dioxide from the air.
  • Virtually all species of marine birds are disappearing from the coast, their populations reduced by 75% and more. It, too, is now being called the largest die-off of its kind in history.
  • Hundred of thousands of dead red crabs are washing ashore on California beaches from San Diego to Orange County right now. Says Reuters, in the second paragraph of its story, “Such strandings take place periodically and are not necessarily a threat to the species.” Move along, nothing to see here, just miles and miles of obscene red death.
  • Even whales in larger numbers than usual are washing up dead on California’s shores. No one knows exactly why, so everyone insists it has nothing to do with anything else.
  • Starfish, more properly known as sea stars, have been virtually wiped out from Mexico to Alaska, apparently by a virus that turns them to mush. It may be the largest mortality event ever witnessed by humans.

Scientists, cautious as always of their reputations and the constant yelps of criticism from the right, are reluctant to ascribe this massive dying across the spectrum of marine life to any particular cause. El Nino and Fukushima radiation are popular villains, indicted but not yet convicted, with ocean acidification and climate change soon to go before the grand jury.

With your house in flames from the basement to the attic, it doesn’t make much sense to debate whether the fire was started by a match or a propane lighter. It would make sense to get out of the house.

But where are we going to go?


Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Pacific Apocalypse: The Great Dying Continues

  1. Roy says:

    I believe the Pacific Ocean is dying due to radiation from Fukushima. Supporting this claim is the following article, This is a very long and comprehensive article by a Canadian. A conclusion reached is there are no safe levels of radiation
    The conclusion “There are no safe levels of radiation” is further backed up by an article by Albert Bates on the work of Dr. Alice Stewart (1906-2002).

    Tom Lewis asks the question “But where are we going to go?” The answer is triage. The question is will the triage be government managed or Darwinian?

  2. Mike Kay says:

    One of the facets of being human is a responsibility toward and connection to all of life. For lack of a better word, this is indeed a religious calling, one where the morality of human action plays a key role.
    We find ourselves through experiencing a myriad of different and unique expressions of that divine force, life itself.
    In the end, it is life that sustains human life. We must take life in order to survive. Knut Rasmussen, that great chronicler of late Inuit culture, chronicled that such an existence is indeed a burden. The moral and ethical weight of human existence, thus rests on a delicate balance. In the news concerning our life support system, aka the natural world, I certainly detect a flight from responsibility, from moral courage, and from ethical necessity.
    The fact that we must endure a savage and regressive political diatribe, provided for us by the most deranged and selfish of amerika’s political animals is not something to be cheered. What is it in the amerikan character that finds knuckle dragging liars so attractive? It is exactly that desire to escape reality, to escape that moral weight, that ethical necessity, and demand that it be left at the doorstep.
    Amerika will not long exist. The games and stupidity are hurrying on an already inevitable end.
    I do wonder, though. When the last bankster is hanging from the last streetlight, will they wish they done what was needed instead of what was expedient?

  3. Tom says:

    Extinct. But nobody wants to believe it.

  4. witsendnj says:

    The toxic algae blooms require so-called “fertilization” – a polite term for sewage runoff and nitrogen deposition from agricultural runoff and burning fuel. This leads to eutrophication. Dead zones occur around the globe in coastal waters and lakes, it’s not just the Pacific, so it’s not Fukushima. It’s just too many people turning Earth into, as the Pope says, “an immense pile of filth”.

    A more complete article on the Pacific:

  5. A country in denial; a world in denial.

    • BC_EE says:

      Only appropriate one of the birthplaces of civilization is “De Nile” – sorry, couldn’t resist.

  6. Avery says:

    This was the European situation back in 2011. Not encouraging: