on New Hampshire beaches, Tuna joins ranks of puzzling wildlife deaths

A dead eight-foot-long bluefin tuna washed up on a beach in New Hampshire Wednesday, the latest of a number of sea creatures whose bodies have mysteriously washed up on the state’s shore.

“All of this together is very concerning,” said Ellen Goethel, a marine biologist and vice chair of the Hampton Conservation Commission.

Goethel’s 31-year-old son found the tuna when he was walking Plaice Cove Beach in Hampton. Goethel, who went to the beach to observe the fish, said she had seen five dead seabirds and three dead seals on the beach the week before.

“I don’t believe that it was caught and lost. It wasn’t injured from fishing,” Goethel said.

The New England Aquarium said last week that a dozen seal pups had washed up on the state’s beaches.

The aquarium is conducting tests on the creatures to determine if disease could be the cause of death. The tests are not expected back until Thursday, Tony LaCasse, spokesman for the aquarium, said today. Tests are also being conducted on the dead birds, said Allison McHale, fishery policy analyst with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Goethel is worried about the diseases the marine life may carry, such as hepatitis. She added that many locals walk their dogs on the beach on a daily basis.

“My concern was to get the animals off the beach as quickly as possible,” she said.

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