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South Africa: No End In Sight To Zandvlei’s Big Fish Die-Off, Thousands Of Dead Fish Removed, Thousands More Appear To Be Dying

04/19/2012 Leave a comment

By Neo Maditla, IOL News – “Muizenberg residents say they are still in the dark about what is killing the fish in the Zandvlei estuary, after yet another weekend removing thousands of fish from the vlei.

When the Cape Argus reported on the problem last month Belinda Walker, the mayoral committee member for economic, environmental and spatial planning, said oxygen depletion in the water was probably the cause.

But on Monday, estuary management staff, law enforcement officers and residents were still removing dead fish from the vlei while thousands more appeared to be dying.

Muizenberg resident Pierre Niehaus said they had removed thousands of dead fish, big and small, from the water.

He said he used to let his dogs swim in the water but has stopped because the dogs developed a skin irritation.

Bob Craske, a Marina da Gama resident for the past 10 years, said other residents who had lived in the area longer than he said they last had a problem like this in the 1970s and 1980s.

Craske said the problem would have been worse had it not been for the small Zandvlei estuary staff who had been working with residents to remove the dead fish and take survivors to the sea: ‘Without them this would have been 10 times worse. It would have been disgusting.’

Garnet Prince, a member of the Cape Piscatorial Society, said some members fished in the vlei but had stopped when the fish started dying.

Poachers had used pitchforks and dived into the water to catch the fish, some of which were endangered, which was not allowed.

Prince said the incident was unfortunate because the vlei was one of the healthiest. ‘Two months ago we saw steenbras in the vlei – they have not been seen here for the past 10 years.'” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths

Pakistan: ‘Innumerable’ Number Of Fish And Other Species Found Dead In Lake Supplying 70% Of Kirachi’s Drinking Water, ‘All Living Things’ In The Water Have Died

04/19/2012 Leave a comment

By Mohammad Ashraf, Gulf News – “Some unknown poisonous element Wednesday killed thousands of fish and other species at the Kenjhar Lake, one of the largest freshwater sources that supplies 70 per cent of drinking water to Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan.

The onslaught of fish, cows, and dogs which drank the water, was seen early yesterday morning. Even the seashells, which are found in the bed of the lake died and lifelessly floated on the lake surface and the shore, wildlife official and witnesses said.

‘What I can see is that in the area of more than three kilometres all the living things in water have died including fish, other species and water plants,’ said Ghulam Rasool Khatri, the World Wildlife Fund representative in the Thatta district some 125 kilometres east of Karachi.

The lake, also known as Kalri Lake, is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Pakistan with extensive reedbeds and flowering plants of lotus. The lake breeds a diverse range of flora and fauna and a wide variety of waterfowl, thus it is a wildlife sanctuary.

‘Even the plants and water has turned blackish,’ Khatri said as the lake offers a scenic look of blue water and a very famous among the picnickers from Karachi and nearby cities.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths

Turkey: Attacked Turkish Pastor Told to Accept Islam or Die, Joins Memorial Service for Slain Christians

04/19/2012 Leave a comment

Compass Direct News – “After a memorial service for three Christians who were murdered in Malatya, Turkey five years ago today, an Istanbul pastor who was attacked over Easter weekend said he’s experienced hostility from Muslims nearly all his life.

Semir Serkek, 58, pastor of Grace Church in Istanbul’s Bahcelievler district, said he personally knew Turkish converts to Christianity Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and German Christian Tilmann Geske, who were brutally murdered by five young men in the southeastern city of Malatya on April 18, 2007.

‘I looked at their fate with some envy, because they were young and I am old, but they left – I have gone through many things,’ he said. ‘But they were so young, so young.’

On a day when memorial services were held for the three slain Christians in Malatya, Izmir and Elazig as well as the ones Serkek attended at both the Kozyatag Cultural Center and Gedikpasha Church in Istanbul, the pastor said the physical violence on him the evening (April 7) before Easter Sunday surprised him.

‘I’ve been verbally abused for being a Christian many times, but this was the first time I was hit, so this was surprising and made me sad,’ Serkek said.

Serkek was alone at Grace Church finishing preparations for the next day’s Easter celebration when at around 9 p.m. he heard frantic pounding at the door, he said. Opening it, he found four young men in their late teens who claimed they had questions and demanded to enter.

The men, whom Serkek said appeared to be about 18 years old, were agitated, and when he refused to let them in they used insulting language, he said. They threatened to kill him if he didn’t recite the Islamic testimony of faith.

‘This made me uneasy, and I told them that this was a church and they should come back in the morning,’ Serkek told Compass. ‘‘This is a Muslim neighborhood, what business does a church have here?’ they asked me, and told me again and again that if I didn’t accept the final religion I would die.'” Read more.

Earth Unprepared for Super Solar Storm

04/19/2012 Leave a comment

By by Mike Wall – “Humanity needs to be much better prepared for massive solar storms, which can wreak havoc on our technology-dependent society, a prominent researcher warns.

Powerful blasts from the sun have triggered intense geomagnetic storms on Earth before, and they’ll do so again. But at the moment our ability to predict these events and guard against their worst consequences — which can include interruptions of power grids and satellite navigation systems — is lacking, says Mike Hapgood of the British research and technology agency RAL Space.

‘We need a much better understanding of the likelihood of space weather disruptions and their impacts, and we need to develop that knowledge quickly,’ Hapgood, head of RAL Space’s space environment group, writes in a commentary in the April 19 issue of the journal Nature.

Potentially devastating storms

The solar storms we need to worry about, Hapgood says, are coronal mass ejections, huge clouds of charged solar plasma that can rocket into space at speeds of 3 million mph (5 million kilometers per hour) or more.

CMEs that hit Earth inject large amounts of energy into the planet’s magnetic field, spawning potentially devastating geomagnetic storms that can disrupt GPS signals, radio communications and power grids for days…

‘If we had a repeat of the Carrington event, I would expect several days of economic and social mayhem as many critical technological systems failed – e.g., localized power grid failures in many countries, widespread loss of GPS signals for navigation and timing, disruption of communications systems, shutdown of long-haul aviation,’ Hapgood told SPACE.com via email.

And the short-term problems caused by such a storm could pale in comparison with its long-term impact, he added.” Read more.

Eyeless Shrimp and Mutant Fish: BP Spill Causing ‘Alarming’ Marine-Life Deformities in the Gulf of Mexico

04/19/2012 Leave a comment

FOX News – “NEW ORLEANS – Eyeless shrimp, fish with oozing sores and other mutant creatures found in the Gulf of Mexico are raising concerns over lingering effects of the BP oil spill.

On April 20, 2010, an explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels into the Gulf, in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Two years later, scientists and commercial fishers alike are fiyonding shrimp, crab and fish that they believe have been deformed by the chemicals unleashed in the spill, according to an extensive report by Al Jazeera English.

‘At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these,’ Tracy Kuhns, a commercial fisher from Barataria, La., told Al Jazeera, showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.

Darla Rooks, another lifelong fisher from Port Sulfur, La., told the broadcaster she was seeing ‘eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills.’

Rooks added that she had never seen such deformities in Gulf waters in her life — a refrain common to most fishers featured in the report — and said her seafood catch last year was ‘ten percent what it normally is.'” Read more.

Gulf of Mexico: Thousands of Dolphins Dying in Massive Die-Off, Symptoms Consistent With Those Seen in Animals Exposed to Oil – “The dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico are in the midst of a massive die-off. The reasons why remain a complicated and mysterious mix of oil, bacteria and the unknown… In the summer of 2011, NOAA tested 32 live dolphins in Barataria Bay, an area heavily impacted by the oil spill. The dolphins were underweight, anemic, and had low blood sugar and/or some symptoms of liver and lung disease. Nearly half had abnormally low levels of hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function.” Read more.

Flashback: BP Disaster Still Unfolding: New Data Confirming Fears That Fish, Wildlife and Millions of Gulf Coast Residents May Be Seriously Impacted for Decades – “In the Gulf, new information is confirming fears that fish and wildlife — and millions of people on the Coast — are being seriously impacted by the 4.9 million barrels of BP oil spewed from the ocean deep last year. A new report from the Waterkeeper Alliance shows the BP disaster is still unfolding… According to the Waterkeeper State of the Gulf report, the effects are just beginning: ‘The oil is not gone, and long-term impacts are still unknown. If past oil spills are used as a barometer we can fully expect the Gulf Coast to suffer continued environmental degradation for decades.'” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters
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