Millions of dead sardines with neurotoxin to be used as food fertilizer


More than 85 tons of sardines that died late Monday in King Harbor, California, have been scooped up and hauled away to a composting center where they will be turned into fertilizer. High levels of a powerful neurotoxin were found in their bodies. Domoic acid has been linked to neurological disorders, illnesses and deaths of seabirds, sea lions, sea otters and whales. When it accumulates in edible fish and shellfish, it can sicken humans. University of Southern California biologist David Caron warned that animals feasting on the sardines will probably die.  So why are they putting the sardines in human food fertilizer? ~ Ed.

Yahoo News reports:

The millions of sardines that were found floating dead in a Southern California marina this week tested positive for a powerful neurotoxin, researchers said Friday.

High levels of domoic acid were found in the sardines, which may have distressed them off the Los Angeles coastline and caused them to swim into the Redondo Beach marina, University of Southern California biologist David Caron wrote in a summary of his laboratory’s findings which were reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Caron said that he still believes that critically low oxygen levels in the water caused the sardines to suffocate, but it’s possible the toxin may have been one explanation for why they crowded into the marina.

The California Department of Fish and Game has blamed the die-off on oxygen deprivation and is also testing fish for toxins at its animal forensics laboratory. Results are not expected until next week.

Domoic acid is often found in the stomach of fish that have been feeding on plankton during toxic algae blooms. The toxin has been linked to neurological disorders, illnesses and deaths in seabirds, sea lions, sea otters and whales.

Caron’s lab is working to determine if the poisoning was caused by a toxic algae bloom spotted off Redondo Beach on Wednesday.

The presence of the toxin in the sardines could lead to health complications for pelicans, gulls and other sea life that have been feasting on the dead fish.

“There were tons of birds feeding on these fish and it’s conceivable that we’ll see some bird mortality as a result,” Caron said.

The fish died late Monday and carpeted the water’s surface the next morning, stacking up to 2 feet deep in some places. Crews have already scooped and hauled away more than 85 tons of fish to a composting center where they will turn into fertilizer.

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LA Times reports:

Domoic acid is often found in the stomachs of fish that have been feeding on plankton on the ocean’s surface during toxic algae blooms. The toxin has been linked to neurological disorders, illnesses and deaths of seabirds, sea lions, sea otters and whales. When it accumulates in edible fish and shellfish, it can sicken humans.

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March 12 UPDATE: Millions of sardines, anchovies, stripped bass and mackerel surge Acapulco, Mexico, obviously escaping the ocean but from what? Scientists not convinced it’s from the tsunami.

9 responses to “Millions of dead sardines with neurotoxin to be used as food fertilizer

  1. Krikies! The whole world is going to implode…2012 starts now…or maybe last year with the BP debacle.

  2. hmm? not sue if it will be a hazard after composting. I grabbed a book on toxic algae after the blooms in Aus a few years ago. its the concentration thats the bad news, a tiny amount of some will not kill, mind you a tiny amount of others will. some red algae are ok in spite of the “warning” colour, a ;lot of the astaxanthin supplements are made from red algae.
    and so is the chlorella supps.
    the chance of a foriegn nasty in them is also not impossible, so I wont use them.
    with heat and the good guy soil bacteria I would hope they add to the compost, the dilute amounts by the end of production should be ok.
    more research on the specific toxin would be handy, I will have a look and se what I can find.

  3. The toxin is produced by marine diatoms which are members of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia. Both shellfish and fish can accumulate this toxin without apparent ill effects; however, in humans the toxin crosses into the brain and interferes with nerve signal transmission.

    curious thing..remember the ducks and waterfowl that were acting oddly?
    this could be a possible? another odd thing is this seems to be diatoms, with some algae producing it too, the fish died on Monday? the bloom didnt show till wed? and I am not a marine expert but I didnt think sardines would be eating algae?

  4. A Sardine’s Diet
    # At the bottom of the food chain, sardines–which have small teeth, if any at all–eat plankton. The sardine filters water through the gills, collecting and eating the microscopic floating plants and animals that comprise plankton

    Read more: What Do Sardines Eat? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_7308927_do-sardines-eat_.html#ixzz1GTEDVLHe

    see? I said I wasnt an expert:-) so diatoms and algae are their food group.

  5. hey,amicus, thx for the info.

    it seems official sources are confused in their info, then, because they said this neurotoxin has killed animals as large as whales.

    and if sardines normally eat it, why would they get sick from it this time?

    seems we need accurate info about this incident

  6. Pingback: Anonymous

  7. One way to stop contributing to algae blooms: use baking soda and borax in your dishwasher. I’ve used them for years and they work every bit as well as what I used to use that contained phosphates.

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