Dozens of dead starfish wash up in Panama City, FL — Dept. of Environmental Protection retracts statement

Cold snap may have killed dozens of starfish, Panama City News Herald, February 3, 2011:

The cold weather is likely responsible for the deaths of several dozen starfish that washed up late last month on the coast at St. Andrews State Park near the jetties, officials said. …

Christopher Pomory, an associate professor of biology with the University of West Florida, said the deaths were most likely the cold weather that killed the starfish. …

He added the cause of the deaths also could be that the starfish were all born at the same time, shared the same life cycle and reached the end of their life cycle together, irregardless of the cold weather. The chances that the oil gusher had anything to do with the dead critters were “very, very slim,” Pomory said.

State’s response:

Representatives with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said they could not comment on how the starfish died because biologists had not investigated. “Individuals may have contacted the news media about dead starfish, but no one filed a report on the Fish Kill Hotline,” the FWC said in a statement. “Starfish are invertebrates and degrade fairly quickly. There’s really not a way days after the fact to determine why or how they died.”

After initially speaking with a News Herald reporter, the Department of Environmental Protection retracted their representative’s statements, saying in an e-mail the department was “not the authority on this issue and we cannot speculate on the cause of the dead starfish.”

6 comments to Dozens of dead starfish wash up in Panama City, FL — Dept. of Environmental Protection retracts statement

  • matthew

    I’m not an expert on sea life but I would like to know if starfish live synchronized life cycles.

  • starlight, start bright

    Having lived in Florida, you learn to observe the patterns of the flora & fauna. It’s interesting & it’s a tangible part of your life everyday there. I know it would freak me out to see so many starfish die like that!

  • starlight, start bright

    To add, the official “explanations” are quite lame. All these quiet critters are sending a loud message with their lives!

  • Jean

    There were lots of dead starfish at St. George Island on January 15. I walked several areas of the beach and saw piles of dead starfish at the high tide line everywhere I looked.

  • starlight, star bright

    dead starfish in the starlight, time to start [getting] bright-ha!

  • starlight, star bright

    Jean–that’s a shame! Florida is incredibly beautiful & unique in large part due to its native flora & fauna. It’s also sad when you know how much people all over the world adore it, too. That’s just how special it is–including the starfish! <3

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