Canadian surf scoters suffer from US oil spill

Male surf scoter, Melanitta perspicillata

From CBC in Canada:

San Fran oil spill hurts Canadian sea duck population

Last Updated: Friday, November 23, 2007 | 11:25 AM ET

An oil spill in San Francisco Bay two weeks ago killed and oiled thousands of birds, with a Canadian sea duck among the largest casualties.

Nearly 227,124 litres of oil spilled into the bay on Nov. 8 when a cargo ship hit the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The area is a key wintering ground for shorebirds, seabirds and waterfowl.

Since the accident, at least 1,365 birds from 27 species have been found dead and more than 1,000 oil-slicked birds have been taken to a wildlife care centre for cleaning.

Oil on birds’ feathers impairs their ability to keep dry and warm, which forces them to shore and away from the food supply. It also can make birds sick if they ingest it while cleaning their feathers.

The surf scoter accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the captured birds and more than 25 per cent of the dead ones, said Michael Ziccardi, head of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, which is leading the rescue effort.

Scientists say the population has suffered so much from the spill because they spend almost all their time in the hardest hit areas.

Surf scoters off Texel and elsewhere in the Netherlands: here.

Population of common scoters in the UK drops by 45% since 1995: here.

Korean oil spill threatens IBAs: here.

3 thoughts on “Canadian surf scoters suffer from US oil spill

  1. South Korea oil spill devastates marine life: official report

    Mar 13 12:20 PM US/Eastern

    South Korea’s worst oil spill has devastated marine life, halving the number of sea plants and mollusks found off the western coast, a government report said Thursday.

    The oil leak also threatened the underwater food chain, endangering fish and sea birds, the Environment Ministry report said.

    Surveys following the spill last December showed mollusk populations had plunged to 56 creatures of five species per square metre from 133 creatures of eight species as mussels were found to have been considerably contaminated by remnants of crude oil.

    The density of seaweeds per square metre fell 43 percent from February 2007 and phyllospadix iwatensis, a seagrass, also declined 47 percent.

    “Because seagrasses and seaweeds make up the lowest part of the ocean food chain, there are risks of second-hand contamination of fish and birds that are at the top of the food pyramid,” the report said.

    The surveys, the first since the oil spill, were carried out in order to set up plans to restore damaged beaches and sea farms.

    Hong Kong-registered supertanker Hebei Spirit spilled 10,900 tons of crude after it was rammed by a Samsung Heavy Industries barge in rough seas off Taean county on December 7.

    Scores of marine farms and kilometres (miles) of beaches were devastated and three people in Taean, about 110 kilometres (70 miles) southwest of Seoul, killed themselves in frustration over delays in compensation.

    Five people — the skippers of the barge and of the two tugs, and the tanker’s captain and chief officer — are on trial on charges of negligence and violating anti-pollution laws.

    Samsung Heavy Industries and Hebei Shipping, a Hong Kong corporation which owns the tanker, have also been charged with violating anti-pollution laws.

    Local residents called for comprehensive restoration measures, claiming most sea creatures were wiped out following the spill.

    “Oysters, crabs or octopuses have already gone. Even sea slugs or abalones are hard to find in the sea,” Kang Tae-Chang, 47, was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

    Lim Hyo-Sang, 60, said he was worried further damage might occur as spring arrives and temperatures rise, causing heavy tar balls that have sunk to surface again.

    Angry residents have protested against previous delays by local officials in distributing compensation from the central government.

    Samsung Heavy Industries said last month it was donating some 107 million dollars to help victims, which they rejected as inadequate.

    South Korea has reported to the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds that the spill destroyed the livelihoods of 40,000 households and polluted 300 kilometres of shoreline, 101 islands, 15 beaches and 35,000 hectares (86,000 acres) of fish farms.

    Copyright AFP 2008


  2. Pingback: Recovered birds freed in Oregon, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Surf scoter video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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