Media reported that thousands of mussels were “roasted” to death on beaches on New Zealand’s North Island, partly because of the weather, while another was that the mussels were consuming too little too fast. New Zealand’s North Island is experiencing drought, with many areas experiencing no rain for more than 40 consecutive days, the report said. The effects of the drought were so severe that wingless birds died while searching for water. So, during the most intense sunshine of the day, hundreds of mussels are “baked” by the sun.
Scientists have been observing mussels “suffering” in changing weather conditions for a decade, and the environment is becoming more tense and destructive for them, “and I think we’re going to see changes in the entire marine community.”
Mussels are ecologically important to New Zealand’s coastal environment, but as the situation worsens, especially during the summer months, they are likely to disappear from the reef.
In response, New Zealand authorities said they were investigating the mass death and urged people not to collect or eat the affected mussels.