Scientists call for action to help sunflower sea stars

Hawaii marine biologists are celebrating what's being a called a game changing development for...
Hawaii marine biologists are celebrating what's being a called a game changing development for ocean science in the Pacific.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 10:35 AM AKST
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ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) - Scientists along the West Coast are seeking action to help sunflower sea stars recover from catastrophic population declines.

The Astorian reports experts say a wasting disease epidemic that started in 2013 has decimated about 95% of the population from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska to Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

The source is unknown, but some say warming waters due to human-caused climate change could have triggered the outbreak. The National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to announce by early next year whether the species should be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Without sea stars to keep them in check, sea urchins are causing a troubling decline in kelp forests that provide food and shelter.