THOUSANDS OF TONS OF DEAD CREATURES HIT CHILE’S BEACHES
Heaps of dead whales, salmon and sardines blamed on the El Niño freak weather phenomenon have clogged Chile’s Pacific beaches in recent months.
At the start of this year, a surge in algae in the water choked to death an estimated 40,000 tons of salmon in the Los Lagos region, where the Andes tower over lakes and green farming valleys down to the coast.
That is about 12 percent of annual salmon production in Chile, the world’s second-biggest producer of the fish after Norway.
This month, some 8,000 tons of sardines were washed up at the mouth of the Queule river. And thousands of dead clams piled up on the coast of Chiloe Island.
On the shores of Santa Maria Island off the center off Chile’s long coast, cuttlefish have been washed up dead in the thousands.
Scientists largely blame the anomalies on El Nino, a disruptive weather phenomenon that comes with warming sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific.
Chiles has 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) of Pacific coastline making it highly vulnerable to El Nino.