The residents near the Alappuzha beach in Kerala were greeted with the horrifying sight of different sea creatures lying dead on its shores on Saturday. From Jellyfish, Balanus amphitrite, to the poisonous Pufferfish and Physalia Physalis (man-of-war) these marine animals were found lying dead on the beach by locals.
The reason for this unusual occurrence has not yet been established as no marine department has yet turned up to study it.
Most of these species are found in the deep sea. Locals noticed these marine animals dying on the shore since Saturday afternoon and it continued until Monday.
According to Professor AA Mohamed Hatha, Department of Marine Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry in Cochin University, the occurrence might be due to climate change, variation in the saline content of the sea or the monsoons.
“Sea pollution can cause the death of Marine animals, but In Kerala, coast pollution is not so severe. Especially in Alappuzha there is no chance at all. Fish kill in the sea is not as easy as it happens in rivers. ,” Professor Mohamed told The News Minute.
The presence of poisonous fish such as the pufferfish and the man-of-war fish caused some panic amongst the locals. The pufferfish and the man-of-war fish is known to produce toxic liquids.
However, Professor Mohammed assures that there is nothing to be worried as the fish are already dead.
“They become toxic and inflammatory, as part of their self-defence mechanism. Pufferfish is very toxic, when it feels uncomfortable it fills inflammatory toxic content in its body to defend it from dangers. Once it is dead, there is nothing to be worried. But the chances of getting infected through direct contact cannot be neglected. But it is not fatal for sure,” he added.
The pufferfish, also known as blowfish, can inflate into a ball shape to evade predators.
Man-of-wars, also known as bluebottles, has venom-filled cysts which is also used for self defence.
It can paralyse and kill fish and other small creatures. For humans its sting is extremely painful, it is not fatal. It also said that the dead man-of-wars, washed up on the shore, can also sting.
Professor Hatha also points that jellyfish invading smaller ponds, backwaters is usual in coastal areas and is considered a menace for the fish farmers.
“They are capable of destroying other fish which is grown by the farmers. During monsoon it is usual for jellyfish used to come to these ponds and back waters,” says the Professor.
However, he also said that if more animals are found dead on the sea shore, the phenomenon has to be studied in detail.