Unknown toxin in Avacha Bay killed 90% of benthic fauna
6 October , 12:12
Society
Photo: amur.info
About 90% of all benthic organisms in Avacha Bay in Kamchatka have died as a result of water pollution, which has acquired an unnatural brown color.

Scientists of the Kronotsky Reserve, together with specialists from the Kamchatka branch of the All-Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (KamchatNIRO), who examined the water area of Avachinsky Bay, announced the catastrophic scale of the death of bottom living creatures in the ocean at the mouth of the Nalychev River, in Spaseniya Bay, Grotovaya Bay, in the vicinity of the island Starichkova.

“When diving to a depth of 5-15 meters, dead sea urchins, starfish, balanus, fish, sea worms, carapace and nudibranch molluscs were found almost throughout the entire journey. If we compare with what I observed before the pollution of the ocean, we can conclude that about 90% of all bottom organisms died", - Interfax quotes the statement of the diver, Alexander Korobok, who participated in the expedition.

According to him, at Cape Nalychevo, visibility is zero, the water is brown due to the suspension of decomposed aquatic organisms, which is not typical for shallow rocky open reefs. Surface waters are also heavily polluted by floating organic matter.

According to experts, an unidentified poisonous substance that has provoked the mass death of fish and other marine life is spreading to the south. By settling on the bottom, it kills the inhabitants of the bottom layers. According to scientists, after the mass death of representatives of the marine fauna, the main threat hung over the sea otters - mammals listed in the Red Book of Russia. According to biologist Ivan Usatov, sea otters can no longer feed on dead sea urchins, which formed the basis of their diet.

Examining the site of the tragedy, scientists took water samples and continued to search for the source of pollution. Until now, it has not been found. Probably, the experts of the Kamchathydromet laboratory will be able to make the primary information about the causes of death of animals, to whom the biologists handed over water samples for analysis.

The first reports of the strange color of the water on the Khalaktyr Beach in the Pacific Ocean came from surfers who complained about the deterioration of the ecological situation. Upon contact with water, their eyes began to redden and swell, and skin irritation appeared. Then, local residents began to upload photos to the Web, testifying to the mass death of octopuses, sea urchins and stars washed ashore near the beach.

During a meeting dedicated to the environmental disaster in Kamchatka, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary in the Far East Yuri Trutnev demanded to find out the reasons for what was happening by the end of the week.

So far, experts are considering three versions of the causes of the incident: technogenic pollution; natural phenomena such as exposure to toxic microalgae; seismic activity on the peninsula and volcanic activity.

The first version is supported by the fact that when the specialists of the hydrometeorological service took water samples at the epicenter of the ecological disaster, they revealed an excess of the content of phenol and oil products in the coastal zone near the Khalaktyrsky beach in the Avacha Bay of Kamchatka.

Later, phenol and oil products were found in three more areas of the Avacha Bay. The facts of the death of marine animals were also revealed in Bolshaya Lagernaya and Malaya Lagernaya bays, as well as in Babya's bay.

The authorities continue to analyze the ecological situation in the region. Until all the circumstances of the incident are clarified, local residents are advised to refrain from contact with water in the affected bay.

In connection with the environmental disaster in Kamchetka, the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for the Kamchatka Territory began a pre-investigation check. Samples of water, sand and samples of dead sea animals were taken. All the material selected at the site of the emergency was sent for research in the laboratories of Moscow and Vladivostok. The extended analysis of water samples from the Pacific coast of Kamchatka is expected to be completed by October 8.