Heat's Impact on Marine Life - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Heat's Impact on Marine Life

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SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- Delmarva's heat wave is packing a punch both on land and on the water.

Surf fisherman Rich King says the hot water temperatures push fish farther out to cooler waters.

"When the water comes in the surf in the afternoon, it's going to warm up more especially in the hotter part of the day," he says. "This weekend is going to be ridiculous hot so when that happens your fish are going to move a little deeper so you have to cast out a little farther."

Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Executive Director Chris Bason says the hot water can be harmful for both plants and animals that call the waterways their home, as it encourages algae growth.

"Algae at certain times in the day use up a lot of oxygen," he says. "So its going to drop the oxygen levels. That is bad for the crabs and the fish that need that oxygen to survive. Overall algae blocks the sunlight trying to get to the bottom so you can't have the beneficial plants on the bottom."

MERR Institute Executive Director Suzanne Thurman says she hasn't seen any local impacts on large marine life, but if temperatures continue to climb it could negatively impact the ocean's food chain.

"As prey sources start to dwindle, then the larger animals like the whales and the dolphins and the sea turtles may start to see a decrease in their available food source," she says. "That is a concern because we are certainly seeing that on the West Coast with the gray whales and the sea lions--they are starving to death."

This weekend is expected to be dangerously hot once again. For the latest forecast, click here. 



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