The discovery of more than 1000 dead fish floating in the Malibu Lagoon has come as a great shock to the authorities. Scientists are trying to establish the probable reasons for such a state of affairs and suspect the higher-than-normal water temperatures to be responsible.

Craig Sap, an official of the California State Parks’ Angeles District, has said efforts are on to find out the reasons for the death of a large number of fish.

Los Angeles Times reports that this situation could be a result of high summer temperatures in California and even in the ocean.

When the water heats up it can change the marine food chain and create toxic algae which is harmful to fish. Moreover, the surroundings of this nature attract warm water animals like jellyfish and stingrays that venture closer to the coast.

Climate change could be a factor

Most of the fish were mullet and topsmelt fish and initial investigations have revealed that, although the water tested normal, the temperature in the lagoon was believed to be around 82 degrees which was considerably high. Several factors like the summer heat coupled with fog along the coast could have contributed to the death of the fish.

The temperatures probably went beyond tolerance levels. Fish die-offs are not new but the situation in the Malibu Lagoon has to be examined in detail to arrive at the root cause.

In the opinion of meteorologist Todd Hall of the National Weather Service, increase in ocean temperatures are normal during summer but, the intensity and spread of high temperatures pose problems.

California has been facing the wrath of high temperatures that have resulted in wildfires which have destroyed thousands of acres of greenery and displaced people and animals from their natural habitats.

Experts view these as indications of climate change. Hall doesn’t mince words when he says “so climate change is involved in this, but there are also other factors.”

The situation is grim

According to The Malibu Times, most of the fish found floating in the Malibu Lagoon were mullets, with some of the catfish family.

There were no Southern California Steelhead Trout which were a subspecies of steelhead that had been considered endangered since 1997.

Restoration work had been undertaken in the lagoon during 2012 and 2013. Subsequently, scientists have experimented to improve the biodiversity by reintroducing local plant and animal species. However, there are problems because of the absence of breeches. These are necessary to allow water from the lagoon to mix with the ocean water and prepare a favorable environment.