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Red tide threatens marine animals
Montreal | August 21, 2008 12:01:13 AM IST
 
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Scientists say they believe a huge swath of red algae in the St. Lawrence River is killing marine mammals, including the threatened beluga whale.

The (Montreal) Gazette reported Wednesday that red algae, which occurs naturally in the river, began to proliferate around the mouth of the Saguenay River amid heavy rains this month.

The so-called red tide has left dead in its wake at least seven harbor porpoises, nine beluga whales, 35 seals and thousands of seabirds, said Pierre Beland, spokesman for the St. Lawrence National Institute of Ecotoxicology.

We normally find about 15 dead belugas in an entire year, so it's really alarming, he added. Something exceptional is happening here, and we think there may be a common cause.

Since red algae are toxic organisms that could possibly cause death or paralysis if ingested, shellfish harvesting has been halted on the St. Lawrence.

(UPI)

 

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