July 28, 2014 | AP
PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — The disease wreaking havoc on wild sea star populations on the West Coast has struck captive collections on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
The Peninsula Daily News reports Monday that sea stars at Port Townsend’s Marine Life Center and Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles have died of the disease, known as sea star wasting.
In Port Townsend, 12 ochre stars have died, while the illness eliminated a species from the tanks in Port Angeles. Both centers pipe in ocean water for their tanks. Experts believe the disease is infectious and might be caused by bacteria or a virus.
Caretakers at the Olympic Peninsula’s marine science centers don’t intend to replace sea stars until they feel more confident they can keep them alive. They also want to avoid taking breeding adults that might be needed to replenish wild colonies.