At least 233 turtles have died along El Salvador's coast, most of them since last September, after ingesting "toxic algae" at sea, the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, or MARN, said Tuesday.
Analysis performed by the Marine Toxins Laboratory at the University of El Salvador confirmed that "these turtles turned up dead due to a toxic algae bloom" that was detected at sea last July, MARN Deputy Minister Lina Pohl told a press conference on Tuesday.
Ingesting the algae is "causing the death of the turtles and certainly we're going to see even more (dead turtles) come up on the coasts of El Salvador in the coming days," she added.
She also said, however, that the results of the testing do not rule out the fact that some turtles may have been affected by improper industrial and individual "fishing activities."
Meanwhile, Salvadoran Deputy Health Minister Eduardo Espinoza said that other analyses have determined that the high concentration of algae, although it may be toxic for turtles, at present poses no danger to humans.
MARN also said that the algae bloom is not directly affecting the Salvadoran coastline and thus consumption of seafood is not restricted.
Pohl said that some of the samples had been sent to Florida labs for analysis.
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