Die-offs of krill are in some cases associated with hypoxia (low oxygen) excess sediment suspended in the water column and changes in water temperature. There were recent reports of high levels of Alexandrium in water samples in the areas, and Norton Sound Health Corporation is performing some testing of krill samples (see below). There was also an unprecedented storm event only a week ago, unusual for the storm surge and early season.
Ali Ralson was riding her 4 Wheeler towards Cape Blossom and came upon a beach full of fish. It appears that most of the fish are stickleback although there may be other species involved too. This would suggest an environmental issue that would impact multiple fish species rather than a pathogen. One potential cause could be harmful algal toxins.
"Since about May 25, crews have been seeing multiple species showing what we believe are signs of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The signs we are seeing widespread is a headshaking that we equate to "getting the cobwebs out", like a person may do when they first wake up. This behavior occurs regularly every couple minutes. This behavior has been observed in: black brant, cackling geese, bar-tailed godwits, dunlin, lapland longspurs, spectacled eiders, emperor geese, greater white-fronted geese, sabines gulls, glaucous gulls, and red-necked phalaropes."
A number of sick and / or dying songbirds were reported in McCarthy including pine grosbeaks and red polls. A sickly golden eagle was reported ten days earlier. "It flew up to a tree top but appeared weak and a bit awkward."