MARINA DEL REY (AP/CBSLA.com) — Lack of oxygen caused the death of tens of thousands of fish that likely sought shelter in a Marina del Rey harbor, state officials said Tuesday.
Scientists suspect the large school of northern anchovies may have sought cover from a predator along the coastal waters of Marina del Rey on Saturday, said Janice Mackey of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“Once in the harbor, the fish school became trapped, and subsequently depleted all of the available oxygen in the water,” she said in a statement.
KNX 1070’s Karen Harlow reports Mackey said workers have removed 300 bags of fish weighing a total of more than six tons.
The dead anchovies and other fish including stingrays created a silvery blanket on the water’s surface and a pungent smell that set off a feeding frenzy among harbor seals, pelicans and seagulls. An octopus was also found among the dead sea life.
Officials collected fish samples for further analysis at a lab.
Mackey said the agency had received various reports of fish die-offs in harbors throughout the state in recent years due to similar conditions.
“While the sight of so many dead fish may be startling, it’d not considered too unusual,” Mackey said.
Similar fish die-offs have occurred as recently as earlier this month in Menifee Lake, as well as a mysterious disease reported last November that has decimated starfish and sardine populations of the West Coast shoreline.
In 2011, there were also reports of fish die-offs in Ventura Harbor and at Redondo Beach.
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