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Microalgae cause of nearly 300 sea turtle deaths along Oaxaca beaches

Oaxaca, Mexico — Mexican officials say the death of nearly 300 sea turtles on various beaches of Oaxaca was due to red tide microalgae.

Federal officials from la Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (Profepa) say autopsies have determined that the 292 sea turtles discovered washed up on Oaxaca beaches since Christmas died from poisoning due to the excess ingestion of microalgae salps (filter-feeding thaliaceans).

On December 25, red tide was recorded in waters off Oaxaca leaving officials to count and bury 292 prieta and olive ridley sea turtles. Another 27 sea turtle were found alive and rescued. They are recovering in the Mexican Tortoise Center from where they will be released back into the wild.

In February 2016, a similar situation occurred on the Oaxaca coast. At that time, the cause of turtle deaths was Spirorchis spp, which caused neuromuscular difficulties in natural movement and breathing.