(WXXV, CNN VAN) - Dolphins and sea turtles are dying at an alarming rate on the Coast.
The Bonnet Carre Spillway has opened, putting trillions of gallons of fresh water into the Mississippi Sound. Experts say this has wreaked havoc on marine life in Mississippi and surrounding states. IMMS Director Dr. Moby Solangi said, “I think one of the problems we are seeing is the sustained introduction for two months of fresh water. It has radically changed the habitat, the food source. It is affecting the food source and the animals, their skins, their eyes, and health.”
In the last two weeks, 12 dolphins and 23 sea turtles have washed up in Mississippi and 11 dolphins have washed up over the past several days in Louisiana. Debra Moore said, “We have seen an uptick in the amount of dolphins that have stranded this year which is disturbing and that is why we are really trying to investigate thoroughly what the cause is.”
Dolphins thrive in the salt water, but the dolphins out in the Gulf are struggling to cope with the freshwater. Veterinary Pathologist Tim Morgan said, “Dolphins are evolved to live in a specific range of salinity and whenever the amount of salt in the water goes down they have a lot of problems associated with that. The most visible problems are lesions that they get on their skin, but there is also a lot of internal lesions that are going on.”
Dr. Solangi says a change needs to be made to protect the marine life on the Coast. “I think that doing internment releases is a possibility and using some of that money that is available now through the BP money to use that to rethink some of our strategies and releasing these pressure areas due to flooding.”