Dozens of dolphins and hundreds of seals have been stranded on the beaches of Florida and the northeastern United States in the last two months, US authorities announced Friday.
Two surveys have been launched to understand the origin of these deaths, which stretch over several thousand kilometers, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A total of 48 dolphins were found dead on the southwest coast of Florida between July 1 and August 30, according to NOAA, as well as hundreds of tonnes of dead fish. The cause is a “red tide” apparently caused by the micro algae Kareniabrevis, a microscopic unicellular organism, mostly present in the Gulf of Mexico, which produces a neurotoxin.
Usually, the number of dolphins stranded in the area is three or four per month. Autopsies performed on ten dolphins confirmed the presence of Karenia brevis, which shows that the deaths “are probably related to the red tide,” said Teri Rowles, head of an NOAA program on marine mammal health, during a conference call with the press.