Tacoma, WA, Jun. 9 (UPI) — Environmentalists in the Northwestern
United States are bracing for what could be the worst fish kill in
memory, the Tacoma Tribune reported Wednesday.
Jan Newton, a University of Washington oceanographer who also works
for the state Department of Ecology, said things are likely to get
worse in what has become a dead zone for fish and other deep-water
marine life at the south end of the Hood Canal.
“The odds are more and more fish and shellfish will die because there
is simply less oxygen than there ever has been historically,” Newton
Experts blame hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, for the deaths of thousands
of fish and other sea creatures in the Hood Canal during the last two
“Going into the summer, it might even be worse than we’ve seen in the
past,” said Mary Lou Mills, the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s
marine ecosystem manager.
State officials last month issued a preliminary action plan, blaming
the problem on excess nitrogen from septic systems, storm water
runoff, discarded salmon carcasses, livestock manure, other
fertilizers and other sources.
Excess nitrogen accelerates the growth of aquatic plants, such as
algae, which then consume oxygen when they die.