The water here is thick and slimy, and the air smells of grass and dead fish. Fishermen are terrified of the consequences. Scientists are looking for answers.
A plankton bloom at this time of year in Thailand would not be unusual if it were not for its huge, terrifying amounts. The water in the sea is green, and at the shore it turns dark brown. Scientists are raising the alarm and looking for reasons for unusual activity that threatens marine species and local fishermen who make their living from fishing.
Dangerously high plankton bloom
The eastern coast region of Thailand is known for its clam mining. However, the waters of the Pacific Ocean in the Gulf of Thailand cannot guarantee successful fishing this season. This is all due to the extremely high activity of plankton, which has created a “dead zone” in the mentioned area. No living organisms can survive here. Scientists who have specialized in this field for years believe that in some areas of the bay, sea blooms are more than 10 times larger than under normal circumstances.
Plankton can be beneficial, but in excessive amounts it kills marine life by preventing oxygen from reaching the water’s surface. In the Gulf of Thailand, which is currently 25 percent it is covered with dense plankton, plants and animals have been deprived of food, and the water has turned intensely green. At the shore, the waves are brown with pollution and dead microorganisms. The death of marine life poses a serious threat to humans. According to the Chombory Fisheries Association, over 80 percent Thai oyster farms along the eastern coast have been severely affected by the current water conditions. The hero of the Reuters document talks about losses of around 14,000 dollars in the case of his company. The fisherman shows dead oysters which, instead of sticking to the net, fall off when gently shaken.
Global warming is to blame
Tanuspong Pokavanich, a scientist from Kasetsart University, reveals the probable reason for the hyperactivity of plankton. In the laboratory, he and his team made a discovery that shed a new picture on the biological catastrophe. During the research, it turned out that the same species of plankton that the Thais encountered three years ago are currently blooming. In 2020, the natural disaster was related to the El Niño effect. All traces indicate that we are dealing with an identical case. This phenomenon involves maintaining high temperatures on the water surface in the equatorial zone of the Pacific Ocean. El Niño can also affect the system of atmospheric currents, causing weather changes all over the globe. Its activity leads to droughts and floods not only within its range, but also on other continents.
This year, the global ocean reached its highest surface temperature ever recorded. According to scientists, pollution and intense heat caused by climate change are to blame.