Over the past week, thousands of squid in Chile have washed up on the beaches of Santa María Island. Up to now, the cause for the massive die-off (an estimated 10,000 up to now) of these cephalopods is unknown.
It is not uncommon for dead fish and mollusks to wash up on the shores of this island located in the southern region of the country around this time of year, but this time around the quantity of squid in Chile lying on the coast is completely off the scales in comparison with a “normal” year.
The most probable cause for the death of so many specimens of squid in Chile is due to a phenomenon named upwelling. This is when cooler waters packed with nutrients move towards the surface, making the warmer waters that contain fewer nutrients sink. This causes a drop in the oxygen content of the water, resulting in the death of a large number of creatures.
The main worry is the possible sanitary consequences the rotting corpses may bring with them. For this reason, the government has initiated procedures to remove and dispose of all the carcasses properly.
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Despite this there is lots of criticism as it took authorities five days to react to this situation, showing the poor emergency response to these kinds of situations in the country. The stench caused by the rotting squid has already been described as unbearable and it is not yet certain if this may bring any consequences to the inhabitants of the region.
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