Following the news that a possible environmental disaster was among Russia's eastern Kamchatka region, scientists are now saying that 95% of seafloor-dwelling life has been wiped out, The Moscow Times reports.
Previously, images of dead octopuses, seals, large fish, crabs, sea urchins, and other sea animals had surfaced, with the surfers of the area and those who swam in the waters stating they had burns in their eyes and throats.
The cause of the mass sea animal deaths is still unknown. Authorities are looking at the possibility of manmade pollution, natural phenomena, or a volcano-related earthquake, Kamchatka governor Vladimir Solodov said.
The scientists from the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, the Kamchatka Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography, and the Kamchatka branch of the Pacific Institute of Geography who were collecting samples from the water told Tuesday that life on the seabed seems to have suffered the worst of the accident. Amid the survey dive, the scientists encountered the dead animals along the seabed.
Bottom-dwelling organisms suffered the worst
Scientist Ivan Usatov said in a meeting, "On the shore, we also did not find any large dead sea animals or birds. However, when diving, we found that there is a mass death of benthos [bottom-dwelling organisms] at depths from 10 to 15 meters — 95% are dead. Some large fish, shrimps, and crabs have survived, but in very small numbers."
An underwater photographer named Alexander Korobok also stated that he suffered from chemical burns after taking part in the dive.
He stated, "After this dive, I can confirm that there is an environmental disaster. The ecosystem has been significantly undermined and this will have long-term consequences since everything in nature is interconnected."
The next step of Russia will be to examine the waters near the Kozelsky and Radyginsky military test sites which are located near the region. A special commission will be looking at whether a pesticide leakage is the reason behind the accident.