Toxic algae bloom kills thousands of fish in San Francisco Bay

·1-min read
Toxic algae bloom kills thousands of fish in San Francisco Bay

Residents by the San Francisco Bay in California are left puzzled as to why a school of dead fish carcasses are washing up ashore.

Experts are saying the die-off may be due to a harmful algae bloom – a toxin that is lethal to fish and other marine life. As the bloom spreads, it decays and depletes the water of oxygen, leading the fish to suffocate.

Reports of dead fish were first spotted just last week and for those working close to the Bay Area, the recent citings are beyond alarming.

"This is a fish kill of unprecedented magnitude in San Francisco Bay. There's no record of anything like this happening previously. So it's a major event. In terms of the number of fish. I would just say that it's an uncountable number of fish, literally uncountable, particularly when you consider that what we're seeing is just the tip of the iceberg," says Jon Rosenfield, a senior scientist for the San Francisco Baykeeper.

Most algae bloom die off after a week or so. But stifling heat waves throughout the summer may be helping the Bay Area's grow even more.

A grouping of microorganisms was first spotted in the Alameda Estuary. Scientists are now trying to unravel what caused it to spread so far and wide – and for so many weeks.