Millions of small fish washed up dead in Redondo Beach, California, a bizarre mass death

Updated: 09 Mar 2011
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It’s been a couple of months since a large group of animals has baffled locals and scientists alike by mysteriously turning up dead, but it appears the trend continues this week in Los Angeles.
 
Millions of small fish, including anchovies, mackerel and sardines, washed up dead in the middle of the night in Redondo Beach, California, in another bizarre mass death that has authorities puzzled and looking for a cause.
 
Boaters woke up this morning to find the dead fish up to a foot deep from the water’s surface at King Harbor Marina, which is about 22 miles south of Los Angeles.
 
Fishy: Millions of small fish, including anchovies, mackerel, sardines, washed up dead in the middle of the night in Redondo Beach, California
 
'We're having millions of anchovies die off in our harbour. At this point it's an unknown reason,' Redondo Beach Police Sgt Phil Keenan said.
 
Staci Gabrielli, marine co-ordinator for King Harbor Marina, on the Los Angeles County coast, has an idea about how this happened.
 
Swept Away: It was high winds in the area last night that swept the fish into the harbour, clogging the waterways for boaters
 
SoCal: Redondo Beach, population 63,261, is located in the South Bay region of the greater Los Angeles area. The Municipal Pier and beach are popular with tourists
 
Gabrielli suspects that the silvery fish were attempting to escape a red tide, a naturally occurring rapid accumulation of algae in a water column, which will poison fish or starve them of oxygen.
 
What is clear is that it was high winds in the area last night that swept the fish into the harbour, clogging the waterways for boaters.
 
The wall of fish was so thick in spots that boats were unable to move, according to Gabrielli.
 
Nature: Some suspect that the silvery fish were attempting to escape a red tide, which is a naturally occurring rapid accumulation of algae in a water column
 
Authorities specializing in fish and game arrived at King Harbor Marina this morning to begin taking samples of the dead fish.
 
‘All evidence points to oxygen deprivation as cause of death. There is no oil sheen, nor is there a chemical sheen,’ California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan said.
 
One thing is certain though – with temperatures set to hit 20C today in the area, the marina is going to smell pretty fishy.
 
This mass death of fish follows the mystery of over 3000 blackbirds falling from the sky in New Year’s Eve last year in Beebe, Arkansas.
 
Fireworks were ultimately believed to be the culprit in that case, but the mystery is officially unsolved.
 
Just a few days later, a similar incident occurred in 500 red-winged blackbirds fell from the sky in Pointe Coupee, Louisiana.
 
Around the same time early this year, approximately 80,000 to 100,000 fish washed up dead on the shores of the Arkansas River near the city of Ozark.
 
 
Clean up: Workers are attempting to clean up the harbour before it begin to smell a bit fishy. Temperatures set to hit 20C today in the area
 
Deprivation: California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan said today that he believes oxygen deprivation caused the mass death
 
 
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