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Fish die off at Oxnard beach possibly linked to climate change

A local scientist and professor says that a recent fish die-off at an Oxnard beach could be linked to climate change.

Cal State University-Channel Islands Professor Sean Anderson says he performed necropsies on fish from Ormond Beach after hundreds died in early July.

Anderson’s analysis revealed there were no obvious toxins that caused these fish to die.

“It suggests that this instantaneous kill of hundreds of fish was probably a physical factor,” says Anderson.

Anderson believes it was relentless days of above average air temperatures, which then allows for sea surface temperatures to warm. He says it’s an environment these fish aren’t used to.

In mid-August 2018, more than 1,000 fish died at a Malibu beach. While tests to determine why they died are not finished, Anderson believes weather also played a factor.

“Right before the issue at Ormond, and right before Malibu, not only did we have really warm days but crazy warm days particularly at night where nighttime temps were really warm,” says Anderson.

According to the National Weather Service in Oxnard, from July 6 to August 15, 2018, many locations in Southern California saw the highest heat on record.

While scientists can’t point their finger yet at climate change, Anderson says, it’s something to watch.

“We don’t know for sure, but it’s the fingerprint of climate change and a large scale regional alteration of our biosphere.”

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