This is the second year in a row we have dead little fish on our camp beaches. This is a couple mile stretch of beach where about 60 little dead tomcod were littered on the beach and in the water. Across our camp was another couple miles of beach with another 60 or so dead tomcod.
It would be great to have Kendra collect some of the fish and a sample of the water near the fish. If she is able to use a thermometer to get water temperature, that would all provide some great clues as to what is affecting her tomcods. It would be very important to document what is happening. If she can collect some fish, the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game can determine as best they can, their body condition. The stomach and GI tract will be analyzed for harmful algal bloom toxins. A water sample (a big Gatorade juice bottle size) would be analyzed by UAF for the concentration of algae and the type of algae in the water. The water temperature would be a help provide clues about the potential heat/oxygen conditions for the fish around the time of their death/washing up.
Comments by LEO Editors:
In the 2019 post about dead tomcod near Teller, Alaska, Department of Fish and Game fish pathologist Ted Meyers wrote:
"Whenever there is mortality this widespread of more than one fish species, the usual cause is suboptimum environmental issues, be it hypoxia, algal blooms, high temperatures, storm activity, chemical spill, or from runoff from precipitation, etc. More information on water quality/environmental parameters and gross clinical signs of affected fish are warranted before any further conclusions can be made."
During May of this year, Nome experienced record breaking temperatures. Temperatures remained warm during the first three weeks of June. Warm air temperatures can warm water temperatures, which can impact the health of fish. During the summer of 2019, warm water and low oxygen levels were responsible for the deaths of pre-spawned salmon across Alaska.