Abalone Die Off Linked to Red Tide

Friday, Sep 2, 2011  |  Updated 12:03 PM PDT
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Abalone Die Off Linked to Red Tide

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A large number of dead red abalone and sea stars inside coves  along the Sonoma Coast have been reported, the California Department of Fish  and Game said Thursday.
   

The department has confirmed reports of dead sea creatures in  Bodega Bay, Russian Gulch, Fort Ross, Timber Cove and Salt Point State Park  since Saturday.    
Department biologists said the abalone deaths seem to coincide  with a local red tide bloom and calm ocean conditions, which may be a reason  for the invertebrate die-off.
   
These conditions have been know to cause abalone mortality in the  past along Northern California coasts, biologists said.
   
Biologists said the die-off is not attributed to withering  syndrome, an abalone disease that can kill abalone. The abalone are not  withered and other invertebrates have been affected, eliminating the disease  as the cause of the deaths.
   
An exact number of abalone and other invertebrate deaths has not  been reported, according to the department.
   
Abalone fishery remains open, which limits divers and pickers to  three abalone a day and 24 abalone a year in Northern California.
   
Abalone fisherman are advised to contact a doctor if they feel  sick.
   
If anyone spots dead or dying abalone, they are encouraged to  report the location and number of invertebrate to Ian Taniguchi at (562)  342-7182.

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