Marine Animal Deaths Attributed to Low Oxygen Levels

HYANNIS – Fishermen in Cape Cod Bay recently discovered a large number of dead animals in their traps, including lobsters, flounders, and eels.

After an investigation conducted by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, it was determined they died due to low levels of oxygen at the ocean’s floor, otherwise known as hypoxia.

Beth Casoni, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, said that the warm water temperatures over the summer as well as the current state of Cape Cod Bay lead to the deaths.

“This area in the Cape Cod Bay has very low current flow, so it was the perfect storm for something like this to happen,” she said.

Cold water in the bay gets trapped at the bottom of the ocean underneath layers of warmer water, causing oxygen to wane.

Casoni is working with the rest of the Lobstermen’s Association to ensure that when situations like this arise again, all parties will be prepared.

“Going forward, we’re going to be meeting with the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs soon to talk about future monitoring,” she said.

The dissolved oxygen is measured in milligrams per liter, with two milligrams per liter being dangerous for animals like lobsters. In the area impacted, levels were sometimes found below one milligram per liter.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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