Thousands of little crustaceans got stranded on a beach at the south of Lima, apparently due to sea warming. (FIS/La Republica)
Crustaceans stranding linked to sea warming
Monday, May 28, 2012, 04:00 (GMT + 9)
Thousands of small crustaceans stranded on Wednesday in the seaside district of Pucusana, south of Lima, occupying an area of about 80 metres.
Although municipal authorities have already cleaned the beach so as to prevent possible human and environmental contamination, an expert of the National Protected Natural Areas Service by the State (Sernanp) was able to tour the area and check that the specimens were not prawn but munida, a resource that is known by fishermen as krill.
According to Yuri Hooken a biologist from Sernanp, this species, measuring about five centimetres and inhabiting the cold waters away from shore, is characterized by its limited capacity to struggle against the current, the newspaper La República reported.
"When there are high winds, these specimens get stranded in great numbers on the beaches," the scientist said.
This time, it is estimated that in the Peruvian resort there were between 200 and 300 kilograms of munidas.
At present, experts from Instituto del Mar del Peru (Imarpe) are analyzing the crustaceans that were found.
In this regard, Puerto de la Marina de Guerra harbour master, Joel Ganoza said he was looking forward to receiving scientific results.
"We have verified that this is not a case of oil pollution, we are ruling it out at present because, if it were so, other species would also be contaminated," he pointed out.
To Hooken, the presence of this resource is due to sea warming, stretching from the north of the country to Lima.
"The warm water coming from the north is not fully close to the coast. This warm water has pushed the cold water, where this species usually lives. It is likely that munidas have been trapped by the present currents," Hooken explained.
Meanwhile, the director of the Scientific Organization for Conservation of Aquatic Animals (ORCA), Carlos Yaipén, clarified that the change in temperature and other biological changes are negative for crustaceans.
"Depending on the kind of tests carried out, the waiting time for results may usually vary from one day to a week," he added.
Finally, Andrés Chipolini Montenegro, a biologist and director of the Research Unit of Pelagic and Ocean Neritic Resources of Imarpe stated: "There are no links to the death of pelicans" that occurred days ago in the country.
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