Johanna Faust, a mixed race Jew, prefers to publish pseudonymously. She is committed: to preventing war, ecological disaster, and nuclear apocalypse; to keeping information available and free; and to not only fighting for personal privacy, but, by representing herself as a soldier in that fight, to exhorting others to do the same. All these efforts find representation on her blog "ah, Mephistophelis," so named after the last line of Chirstopher Marlowe's in his famous Dr. Faustus, which, as some would have it, successfully flouted the censor for a time. A female Faust, she is a poet, always.

Oregon: First-Ever Statewide Fishing Ban Coincides With, But Does Not Cite, Widespread Unexplained Fish Die-Offs (In Some Areas Mortality Near 100%)

A Screenshot from John C. Ratliff's evidentiary video, "Salmon In Trouble,"June, 2015

Multi-species: even sturgeon affected.   Rotting gills.  In some places, rate of infection 100%.  Main stream media in full damage control, more on that in a bit.

Bodies of salmon lying dead on the river bottom, possibly seen by one diligently observant diver, Mr. John C. Ratliff, whose video, and excerpts of his accompanying written testimony, I present below.  Read it carefully; it provides, in my opinion, an important set of details against which to hold reports authored by the probably morally bankrupt Associated Press and completely morally bereft Fox 'news' sources. (I would apologize, but on  second thought, I won't).
Published on Jul 13, 2015
On Tuesday of this week, I dove High Rocks again. primary objective for this dive was to witness and video the spawning of red-sided shiners. Additionally, I had heard that there were some salmon being killed by higher temperatures in the Clackamas River. So I wanted also to investigate this possibility. This dive was two days later, on Thursday, July 2, 2015.
As I was entering the water, I noted two dead salmon floating near my entrance point. Several more were in the back-current in the river.... Hanging from a root was the remains of a female salmon, with its guts open so that I could see the egg mass protruding into the water. This salmon had not had a chance to spawn... Then I noted a dead salmon in the distance, and started swimming toward it....

Another screenshot of John C. Ratliff's evidentiary video, "Salmon In Trouble,"June, 2015
As I got close, I saw it was not alone in death.
There were about seven more behind it.

So I videoed them, then put the helmet down behind the far one and videoed myself picking it up, so as to show the actual size of these huge Chinook.

I then swam further downstream, and noted several more dead salmon. Turning around, I swam back over these dead fish, to get back to where the red-sided shiners were gathered for spawning, hoping to see spawning activity.
As I was observing these, another salmon came by in the current, but it was still alive and making feeble swimming motions while belly-up. It bumped into the first salmon I had seen, and stayed there, expiring. I swam over the dead fish again, then back again and noted the dying salmon still trying to swim downstream, but still belly-up. It was heartbreaking to see this. I continued downstream, noted several other salmon dead, and finally exited at my exit point below the bridge. To me this was a really heart-wrenching dive.

I talked to ODFW's Public Information Officer, Rick Suart, and he talked with the biologists while we were on the phone. It was the consensus of the biologists that these were Willametter River salmon, trying to make it up the Willamette to the McKenzie River, but diverting into the Clackamas River to escape the hot temperatures of the Willamette River. But the Clackamas River was also dropping in water level, and heating up in the hot weather.
When I told Mr. Suart that the lifeguards had measured the river temperature at High Rocks at 72 degrees F, they said that the salmon start having problems at about 60 degrees, and at that high temperature (72 degrees) they not only cannot get enough oxygen from the water, but become very susceptible to infections.
My Suunto Cobra dive computer says that at depth, the water temperature was 70 degrees F. I noted the splotches in the sides of the fish I had observed too. I'm currently editing the video, and will give it to the ODFW soon. I may also send the video to a local news station.
 Format mine, with apologies.  For his description in full, please go to his Youtube post, here.

I hope he does.  This is his video, "Salmon in Trouble:"

An extremely rare epidemiological occurrence, some areas experienced a 100% rate of 'infection.'  Something like this ring a bell?  It should, because rate of death as a consequence of the Starfish Wasting Disease reached 100% of population in many instances; see here, here, and here.

And in the case of the event prompting the official ban on Angling in Oregon, 'infection' might not be the most appropriate term, since the pathogen in question does not seem to have been determined, only surmised.  Correct me if I am wrong.

This is also the case in Alaska, where recently 14 whale carcasses surfaced, an event, rather widely documented, that apparently also affected other marine creatures, including sturgeon.  
Kate Wynne, a Marine Mammal Specialist for the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, told Channel 2 News that since the June 18 announcement of the nine dead fin whales, four humpback whales and another fin whale have been found dead. According to Wynne, the five whales appeared to have been dead for the same amount of time as the previously discovered whales… After the first two whales were discovered… it triggered a response from numerous agencies… “The good news is that this has gotten a lot of us to talk to each other, and be alert,” Wynne said… Wynne thinks the whales may have consumed something toxic… Tests on tissue from one of the whales have proven negative for domoic acid, a biotoxin, and results on two other tests, for Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) and Cesium-137 radioactivity, are still pending.
Read more (KTUU) (more sources at Enenews)
The testing undertaken includes testing for one form of radiation that may signal impact from the nuclear disaster in Japan. Unfortunately, I have confirmed by email that more comprehensive testing will not be undertaken absent additional funding. (For more information, see note below.)

Similar mortality events have happened recently, as all Gentle Readers of this blog no doubt are aware.  Before the current Oregon die-off, before the recent deaths in Alaska and San Diego, before a more widespread annihilation was to wipe out sea stars up and down the coast, here is relevant data from yet another mortality event: Two species were "functionally extirpated" across 100km of coastline in the Pacific Northwest, from Mendicino to just above San Francisco -- in late August, early September, 2011.  

This geographically bounded sea star mortality event was observed, and studied, precisely because, as the authors state in their introduction, in events such as this often there is regrettably little baseline work done.  One gets the feeling that the researchers knew, back in 2011, what was afoot...

Here is an excerpt, that gets to the point of why 100% mortality is such a very, very bad sign.
 The geographic scale, rapidity, and taxonomic scope of this mass mortality event are notable, as is the high mortality rate for purple urchins and six-armed sea stars. Although localized mass mortalities are not uncommon... no previously documented mortality event has been so severe over such a large region... Even in comparison with high-severity events, an apparently uniform lack of survivors... following an event is uncommon.... The event documented here was also unusual in its sudden onset and brief time-course, a pattern that is rare in marine systems except in cases of discrete physical disturbance like hurricanes. Large-scale marine mortalities typically take several months or years to progress....
As is the case for many documented mass-mortality events, we cannot unambiguously ascribe the current die-off to a particular cause or set of causes. However, the combination of synchronous and spatially consistent mortality in multiple species, juxtaposed with zero detectable effect in adjacent regions, is consistent with a single, geographically constrained agent. Conceivable causes of the patterns we observed include five, potentially nonexclusive, processes: (1) physical disturbance, (2) mass migration of individuals to areas outside the sampling domain, (3) dysoxia or anoxia, (4) a disease outbreak, and (5) toxicity resulting from a harmful algal bloom (HAB). Of these, toxicity from a HAB is most likely....

"Patterns of Mass Mortality among Rocky Shore Invertebrates across 100 km of Northeastern Pacific Coastline"  
Jurgens LJ, Rogers-Bennett L, Raimondi PT, Schiebelhut LM, Dawson MN, Grosberg RK, et al. (2015)   
PLoS ONE 10(6): e0126280. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126280  
Read more
They hypothesize a Harmful Algae Bloom, although I saw no direct proof had been obtained of this.  Certainly a HAB was observed as a primary factor in deaths beginning this year, notably the sea lions in Santa Barbara -- but investigations into the sudden whale and sturgeon deaths in Alaska included testing for the toxins produced by HABs, and the tests were negative.  In the case of the latter mortality event, what was especially chilling was that the creatures, large animals, all appeared to die at the same time.

A lack of conclusive data notwithstanding, the media informs us that it is warm weather, that we are 'giving the fish a break' -- and in many cases, says nothing about the mortality even.  I sure hope it isn't harmful to humans, for the sake of the above diver and for everyone upon whom the media foisted a certainty which, to my mind, smells as if it were in direct inverse proportion to their actual comprehension of the causes of the event.

Why would warm waters leave a salmon female with her guts spilling out?  Why wouldn't the fish know enough to seek the comparatively cooler water at the bottom?  Why hasn't the toxin been isolated, if it is a likely culprit?

Mostly it is blamed on global warming, but in my opinion there are problems with this interpretation, pieces of the puzzle that do not fit.  Obviously the main stream media agrees, since they appear to have gone quickly into full-scale damage control.  One mini story, ostensibly about the Oregon fish deaths, attributes them to warm temperature water in the title of the piece, and  -- ecce signum --look how deftly (not) the attention is distracted and the spirit uplifted, by the end:

Here's the video from the story.  You wouldn't recognize it as stemming from the same event by which Mr. Ratliff was heartbroken, nor would you think the ban related to a pathogen that might pose harm to human health.  At least I didn't.

Common sense -- not always the wisest, I admit -- would indicate that all this death since 2011 along the coast of the Pacific Northwest shares a root cause.  

I would sure love to be wrong.

NOTE: Funding appears to be the only obstacle to a more comprehensive testing of the Alaska tissue specimens, however.  If those specimens seem likely to shed light on this matter, funding must be generated, in my opinion.  Please leave a comment or email me if you want to be of help. I will be posting updates.

Be seeing you.

M.W.K.P.A. | "New World Order" by Juice Rap News

Welcome to Music What Kicketh Political Ass.  I love these guys.  Dream of writing for them -- well, dreamt of it once.  Worth the mention, though; their verse, like mine, is most excellent.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever, and Doch alle Lust will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit.


Largest Toxic Algae Bloom Ever Recorded Is Also A Deadly Freshwater Menace To People and Animals

from a Google Image search

This post is the itinerary of a recent research excursion (pun intended)
Partial list of sources follows post.

Many of you know that the West Coast of North America is suffering under the onslaught of what is being called the largest toxic algal bloom.  Ever.  Usually toxic algae blooms occur as a result of agricultural runoff; usually they are localized; this bloom is freakin' huge.

An extensive bloom of toxic algae along the West Coast has waxed and waned since it first appeared in early May, but it hasn't gone away. Now well into its second month, the bloom extends all along the coast from Santa Barbara to Alaska. In Alaska, the algal toxin domoic acid has reached levels never before seen that far north, according to Raphael Kudela, professor of ocean sciences at UC Santa Cruz.
"It truly is an unprecedented event," said Kudela, who holds the Ida Benson Lynn Chair in Ocean Health at UC Santa Cruz. "It's doing very strange things along the whole West Coast of the United States."
Read more

Global warming?  Perhaps; indeed that is the hypothesis of choice currently in the main stream media.  One would think that this phenomenon would be observed elsewhere --  unless the conditions are not right, or not right yet, anywhere else.  

The thing is, it is not only oceanic toxic blooms.

Agricultural runoff?  Seems less likely, right?  How about if toxic algae were blooming in bodies of water off into which no agricultural waste nitrates ever ran?  

Like a reservoir?

Lake Chabot, a northern California backup reservoir, was once closed to the public; then it was opened for recreational activities. Although swimming is not allowed, apparently it is usually not actively discouraged, as several members of a recent fourth of July outing to the lake had been intending to take a dip -- only to find new signs up, saying in no uncertain terms that any contact with the water in the reservoir was, at this time, strictly prohibited, as it was considered to be toxic.  

From the Lake Chabot website, a screenshot:

from the Lake Chabot website

Please take note: 
three dogs have died
 because of ingesting a very small amount
of water infested with toxic algae.
The water does not 
have to be thick and green and slimy 
to kill your dog, or you.

Quick biology lesson, since we are here anyway at this semantic juncture, and we need to ratchet down from the red bold lettering above:

Bioaccumulation ought to be distinguished from biomagnification, with which it is often confused by science writers who need to do their homework. 

a faustian remix

Biomagnification occurs across levels of the food chain.    It refers to the increasing toxicity with respect to a given chemical as you travel up the food chain.  Organisms have ingested organisms that have ingested organisms that have ingested ....some of the toxin.  The ones on top will have the highest concentrations, if the toxin biomagnifies. Think DDT.

Bioaccumulation occurs within one level of the food web, and as far as I can tell from my own homework, often is used to refer to the same species, if not the same organism.  It means that the body of an organism that eats toxic food will be more toxic over time.  The food may be made up of other organisms, or not.

The toxins secreted by deadly algal blooms are not flushed from the body; they are neurodegenerative, causing seizures, paralysis, coma, death; some can be responsible for diseases such as Lou Gehrig's/Parkinsons. 

And they bioaccumulate.  They stay in the body, with every exposure, building in toxicity.


Let's go to that update, shall we, Gentle Reader? There we find out that 'rare' means the first time was last year:

from Lake Chabot website.  idiosyncratic colorization, mine.

Indeed, although blue-green algae have plagued North American bodies of water for years, in an overwhelming majority of cases the first time the bloom had turned toxic was in the last few years for other Lakes as well, up and down the coast; and not just on the West coast: Lake Erie, where the algae affected drinking water last August, is expected to have a severe bloom again this year by federal scientists.  Its first was recent. Kentucky and Ohio lakes are experiencing toxic blooms for the first time.  So is New Zealand.  Toxic cyanobacteria were found for the first time in the open ocean in 2010. (See 'Sources & Other Links for the Curious,' below).

In fact, toxic algal blooms have not really 'been with us' throughout history, except extremely rarely.    They are a modern phenomenon:

from "Toxic Algal Blooms and Red Tides, A Global Perspective" by Donald Anderson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1989. 

But none as big as the one on the West Coast of North America, now, where some other factor or group of factors is ensuring the monstrous proliferation and spread of these organisms.  Sea lions, fish, jellyfish, starfish, birds, dolphins, whales, sharks, herring, anchovy, salmon, all have had mortality events in the last year.  Or their populations have disappeared, or in the case of starfish, disintegrated. (To read more, just browse the 'U.S. and Canada' section of Energy News.)

Josie, a healthy Labrador, a victim of the algae at Lake Chabot.
Global warming (I'd rather call it 'climate change')?  Drought?  Agricultural runoff, phosphorous and nitrates?  All of these have been put forth to explain the blooms, and all could easily play a part.  Now if you follow this blog, you know how tempted I am to mention a few more factors...

Like how hardy cyanobacteria can be to ionizing radiation (one Deinococcus radiodurans, nicknamed 'Conan the Bacterium,' has been known to survive a whopping thousand times the radiation that would kill a man quickly). Or how radiation levels are on the uptick worldwide, most notably along the West Coast.  Add to this the seemingly sharp increase in toxic 'firsts' in the last three years, and you have...

...nothing so much as a reason to keep your eyes and ears open, and above all, your pets safe, away from algae-encrusted lakes, away from the Pacific; if it were me, I would keep them away from all stagnant water.

Oh, and

please keep the kids out of the rain....

Be seeing you.