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Satellite Images Confirm Algal Bloom caused Fish Kill

24 April 2013

AUSTRALIA - New satellite images sourced from NASA confirm that the fill kills across South Australian waters from last month was most likely caused by naturally occurring algal bloom.

Scientists who formed part of a team of experts across Government sourced the images to confirm their original theory based on satellite images from the CSIRO.

Minister for Fisheries Gail Gago said that scientists are saying that the worst of this natural phenomenon is most likely behind us.

“We now have a second independent set of satellite images that confirm the presence of high algal abundance in the water and elevated water temperatures around early March when dead fish washed up at Port Neill on the Eyre Peninsula,” she said.

“Diagnostic tests of fish samples collected to date have ruled out infectious fish diseases.

“Further to this, pathology results have indicated gill irritation which is consistent with unusually high water temperatures and possible harmful algae.

“All of our testing and analysis is pointing to the algal bloom being responsible for the fish deaths.”

The Health Department has advised that algal blooms that cause fish deaths through oxygen depletion and gill damage do not affect human health through recreational use of water.

The SA Museum continues to conduct post mortem examinations on dolphins.

Twenty six dolphins have been found dead in recent weeks along the State’s coastline.

The preliminary post mortem results of dolphins examined to date have ruled out any evidence of toxins.

Test results that have only just been completed show that the common finding in dolphins examined to date is most likely an opportunistic fungal pneumonia.

The dolphins were predominantly juveniles or young adults, which means that they are more susceptible to catching infections.

Extensive water sampling to date has shown no pollutants or toxins and that water was within normal water quality parameters.

The underlying cause of pneumonia is inconclusive.

Post mortems and laboratory testing will continue with results expected in coming weeks.

TheFishSite News Desk

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