On January 5 I saw sea stars affected by the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome on Whidbey Island, Washington, for the first time. I was diving at Possession Point Fingers when in 30 ft. of water I noticed scattered arms of a pale-colored sea star (a spiny pink star Pisaster brevispinus?) and a sunflower star ( Pycnopodia helianthoides) in distress on the edge of a clay wall. Its arms were stretched out as if they were ready to fall off (later I did see a detached sunflower star's arm). It was indeed a sad sight:
Yesterday, January 15, I saw more sunflower stars that showed signs of the same disease at Keystone Underwater Park near Coupeville:
There is no doubt that Sea Star Wasting Syndrome is spreading at an alarming rate in Whibdey island waters and beyond.
Since I have heard about the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome few months ago I have been submitting sea star surveys to the Vancouver Aquarium:
© E. Betty Bastai