Scientists Concerned Over 1,100 Pounds of Dead Octopus Washing Ashore in Portugal

VILA NOVA DE GAIA, Portugal, Jan. 6 (UPI) — More than 1,200 pounds of dead octopus have washed ashore on a 1.8-mile stretch of beach in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, concerned scientists say.

“It’s very strange that so many should be killed, and in such a confined area,” said Nuno Oliveira, head of the Gaia Biological Park. “There’s nothing in the scientific literature for this kind of mass mortality among octopus.”

An estimated 1,100 pounds of octopus all ages and sizes washed up dead Saturday and another 110 pounds Sunday, said Mike Weber, head of the Aguda coastal station in Gaia.

“That suggests that it wiped out the entire local population,” Weber told Time magazine in a story published Wednesday.

Firefighters gathered up the dead animals, with many sent for testing at a laboratory in Lisbon. Biologists have ruled out pollution as the cause of death because no other species were affected. The cause is likely some form of disease-causing parasite or bacteria, Oliveira said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Categorized | Aquatic Life, Literature
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