Sunday, April 24, 2011

15 dead sharks wash ashore in Manatee County

Lots of problems with beach closings at Siesta Key, Sarasota, and now this...STILL without explanation?

dead sharks

(Photo/Anna Maria Island Sun) Three of the sharks found dead on Manatee County beaches.

By Summer Smith, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, April 22, 2011
  • If you run into a dead shark on the beach, MOTE asks that you contact them at (941) 388-4441.
A mystery is brewing on Manatee County's beautiful beaches -- researchers are trying to figure out why sharks are washing ashore dead.
Recently more than a dozen dead sharks were found on the north ends of Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island.
"There were no real indicators of what went wrong with them," Dr. Nick Whitney, Staff Scientist for the Center for Shark Research at MOTE Marine Laboratory said. "There are no obvious signs of damage from fishing or net damage or anything like that."
The species of sharks found were bonnetheads, blacknose and sharpnose.
Whitney said he's ruled out the possibility that the sharks died as a result of last year's oil spill.
"Oil spill is pretty unlikely because these animals tend to be coastal," said Whitney. "They move up and down coast, but they wouldn't tend to go off shore and in deep water where oil is."
For now, Whitney says what happened to these sharks remains a mystery.
Researchers have sent samples from the sharks to a different lab to try and see if red tide killed them.
However, they say this is highly unlikely since they have not detected any red tide in the area.
MOTE researchers say finding a dead shark now and then is not rare, but it is uncommon to find a group of them dead within a few days. 

***Thanks to Lauren Hallahan for sending this news story to me!


Anita Stewart said...

The following is what I sent to the reporter of the story:

The oil gusher not only resulted in tons of poisonous drilling mud being used, but 9 different poisonous dispersants were used creating a toxic soup in the Gulf of Mexico. Independent researchers, myself included were part of a citizen's initiative to test our local waters. A sand sample was taken from Sarasota beach LAST SEPTEMBER that measured 173ppm and it was fingerprint matched to the Macondo well. Scientists from USF have a copy of this lab report because I put it in their hands. MOTE also knows about this report because we spoke to them about it. The local media refuses to report this story. Please start doing your job and report the truth. Or is the tourism industry and the billions of dollars made from it more important than public health? People are still swimming on these toxic beaches and eating the contaminated seafood, just like the sharks did here and the dolphins did up in the Panhandle of FL, MS, AL and LA.

Anita Stewart
Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation Board, Seat 5

(This response to you is entering the blogosphere now. I hope there will be a follow up report on this story with truth added to it. Reporters and journalists are supposed to research and report the truth, not PR campaigns for the tourism industry.)

Kelly Cochran said...

The following is what I sent to the reporter of the story:

Miss Smith,

I have to say that your article is one of the lamest attempts I've ever seen at trying to cover up the obvious by taking at face value the ridiculous non-answer by a Mote scientist to what is a vastly important question as to whether or not BP Oil or any of the clean up measures BP and the USCG employed in efforts to keep the oil off our shores.

Google Corexit and also Synthia. Both have been used by the millions of gallons to combat the oil and keep it off our nice white beaches (which are not so white since the oil IS on our beaches and HAS BEEN on our beaches atleast since last fall.)

That you would accept such a reply as a legitimate response indicates that you are either dumb as a box of rocks or that you have never been trained in journalism. And actually, it may be both as I see that you studied "communication", not journalism.

How about passing this story to a reporter who might actually care about getting an honest answer that your viewers might could actually use in keeping themselves and their children safe.

Are you aware of any of the chemicals being used in the Gulf clean-up measures that they are very toxic? Are you aware that 6 people have died in Florida related to the oil spill, some just from walking on the shores of un-oiled beaches. Just because YOU may not recognize dispersed oil on the beach does not mean there is no oil on the beach and in the water nor does it mean that the water is safe or fit for humans (or sharks). Your report is as lame as the Sniff Test for seafood. It's just ridiculous.

The sand right there where these sharks were found tested positive for BP chemicals last fall. Babies playing in the sand at the beaches are endangered by the chemicals that their parents can't see but still lurk in the water and pose a real threat. 15 sharks of three different breeds might clue you in as to how very dangerous these chemicals are. Don't you care? Don't you want people to be able to trust the information you give them?

When you give disinformation to viewers, Ms. Smith, you and your station FAIL your neighbors, your viewers, your friends and families, our guests - the tourists - who come to visit and feed our entire economy, and ultimately our communities' businesses and the station's 'non-oil company' advertisers by misleading and deceiving, and then ruining advertisers future customers who won't come back to Florida after being lied to by whose job it is to deliver the facts. You hurt us all, and yourself, terribly by not doing the job of alerting the public and not asking the tough questions and expecting legitimate, truthful answers for your viewers. And you lose my respect too.

And you waste your chance to make a real difference in someone's life.

Just think about all the people who put their kids in that sand to play who you are concealing real dangers from, dangers that cannot be overcome. Genuine physical lifelong disabilities with central nervous system damage that is irreversible, and increased blood and organ cancers, especially for children who have been chemically exposed. The oil workers with Valdez, their lifespans were reduced by a full one-third after a very short term exposure. Imagine what these chemicals are doing to the children living in our community and what it's doing to their developing brains and organs. You should be ashamed of yourself for covering up this information.

Maybe if you get another chance, you will try to do the real job of asking legitimate questions and expecting truthful answers. And be aware that scientists protect their sources of funding and Mote has gotten a lot of money from BP. If you would check that out, you would understand that Mote may have their financial interests to protect which to them would supercede informing the public. That would be your job - informing the public.

Anita Stewart said...

Kelly, thanks for posting this comment!