Wasting Disease Plagues West Coast Starfish

Various news agencies are reporting starfish along the West Coast are dying in droves from a “wasting disease,” which turns the fish to “goo.”

The Press Democrat reported the disease has killed up to 95 percent of starfish in some tide pool populations ranging from southeast Alaska to Santa Barbara. It additionally stated in September, starfish in a marine sanctuary center at the San Francisco Presidio turned sickly and perished in water pumped from the ocean, while the aquarium’s other occupants, including eels and anemones, remained well.

Stricken starfish develop white lesions that expand and sometimes turn ulcerous, then start losing arms and finally—all in a matter of days or weeks—disintegrate into what some observers have described as “goo.”

Science World Report also noted at least 10 species of star fish have been reported dead from the same disease, according to researchers from the U.C. Santa Cruz Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. According to Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at U.C. Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab, “They essentially melt in front of you, We’ve never seen it at this scale up and down the coast.”

The cause of the wasting disease is unknown to scientists. They have however noted that a similar outbreak occurred in 1983, yet the current outbreak appears to be progressively worse than past years.

To see the starfish wasting map online, please see www.eeb.ucsc.edu or click here.

Download Center

  • Your Guide to Environmental Metrics that Drive Performance

    Translating sustainability into action starts with implementing the right metrics to assess your environmental risk and performance. Learn how to design metrics that improve your decision-making process and drive enterprise performance.

  • Unpacking ESG: 6 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

    Environmental and Sustainability experts from Arcadis and Cority answer 6 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about getting started with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

  • Streamline Your Air Emissions Management

    See how consolidating all your emissions management functions into one centralized system can help you streamline your operations, more easily maintain compliance, and achieve greater time and cost savings.

  • A Crash Course in Creating the Right Environmental Scoring System

    Learn how to develop the right environmental scoring system so you can easily benchmark performance across all your facilities and gain a holistic view of your environmental programs.

  • Industry Safe