[Coral-List] Mass Fish Deaths in Nauru & Kiribati

sulu_r at usp.ac.fj sulu_r at usp.ac.fj
Sun Dec 7 18:24:42 EST 2003

Dear Coral listers,

We have had mass fish deaths in Kiribati (around Tarawa) at around October and 
then another mass fish death with a much higher proportion in Nauru in Late October 
up to now (December -  sporadically). The fish death occur from the the surface 
down to depths of 180 feet.  The fish were observed to be initially weak and then 
slowly die.  One can swim in the coral reef areas and the fish just literally stick to you 
and come right into your masks as they were too weak to swim away.  They would 
literally be just biting you.  With the fish around you, it is like swimming around 
leaves.  Right now it has kind of reduced but we have observed that the living fish 
swimming around have some sores around the eyes.  We assume that this may 
have been due to parasites from the mass fish death getting on to the living fish.  
There has also been evidence of coral bleaching.  

There was a lot of Tuna schools around the area and they were not suffering any bit, 
but preety much healthy.  There was no Tuna death.  There was quite a lot of silver 
tail trevally which kind of has a population explosion with a lot of young around and 
increasing in size with every passing weeks.

I rememeber that some months ago, one of our subscribers wrote in about mass 
parrot fish deaths.  We have been doing a lot of soul searching about this 
phenomenon and the possibilities we come up included increased temperature 
levels, red tides etc.  Does anyone experience this anywhere in other parts of the 
world and what has been the conclusion you come up with.  We have photographs 
available and if anyone is interested to see them please contact me.

With many thanks

Reuben Sulu
Reuben John Sulu
Institute of Marine Resources
The University of the South Pacific
PO Box 1168, Suva. Fiji Islands
Phone (679) 3212997	Fax (679) 3309494

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