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Thousands of dead fish blanket California coast

Dead anchovies blanket the coast Marina Del Rey
Dead anchovies blanket the coast Marina Del Rey
Photo credit: Getty Images

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office began to receive numerous reports of foul smelling fish floating on the top of the waters at Marina Del Rey, the La Times reported on May 18. People began to notice a foul smell coming from the coast late Saturday.

Workers at the coast were left with the task of scooping up the anchovies on Sunday morning. A few hours after many of the fish had been removed the smell was still pretty intense according to community programs manager for the Environmental Group Los Angeles, Michael Quill.

“There were thousands of anchovies blanketing the surface,” said Quill, Water keeper, who was preparing to take a group of high school students on a boat trip Sunday morning when he encountered the spectacle. “It was just a sheet of silver.”

According to NBC Los Angeles a reported 175 garbage bags filled with an estimated 70,000 fish were removed from the water. The filled bags weighed about 7,000 pounds in total.

Officials describe the incident as “very minor” in comparison to previous incidences of massive fish caucuses covering California shores. Three years ago a similar instance took place at Harbor in Redondo Beach but there were considerable more dead fish reported.

According to bait expert Michael Spears who spoke with NBC 4 Los Angeles, said “low tide combined with low oxygen levels may have been the cause of the massive die off”. The extreme heat in parts of California may also be a factor in a lack of oxygen in the water causing fish that tend to remain close to the surface to die.

The cause of the massive fish death is said to be due to a lack of oxygen from the fish swimming to the top at ounce. However, there has yet to be an official statement regarding the cause of the fish, specifically anchovies, dying in such large numbers. Hopefully tests will be under way as Marina Del Rey is a popular fishing spot for Los Angeles county residents and local businesses.