Million dead fish swamp
'Seals are gorging themselves' while leftovers are
removed, dumped in bins
Nicholson / Reuters
of the dead fish at King Harbor Marina in Redondo
Beach, Calif., are seen Tuesday. The fish were a foot
thick in areas, one official said.
msnbc.com news services
ANGELES — Sardines and other small fish in the hundreds
of thousands washed up dead overnight in the harbor area
of Redondo Beach, Calif., just south of Los Angeles,
puzzling authorities and triggering a cleanup effort.
television news footage showed the mass of dead fish,
said by a police spokesman to be about a foot deep on
the surface, choking the waters in and around dozens of
private boat slips in the King Harbor Marina.
tentatively concluded that the fish died from oxygen
deprivation after being driven by a storm into a
closed-off pier area, California Department of Fish and
Game spokesman Andrew Hughan told Reuters.
"It looks like they
just swam in the wrong direction and ended up in a
corner of the pier that doesn't have any free-flowing
oxygen in it," Hughan said.
"There's nothing that
appears to be out of sorts, no oil sheen no chemicals,
no sign of any kind of illegal activity," Hughan said.
"As one fisherman just told me, this is natural
Hughan said such
incidents were rare but not unheard of.
investigated, authorities were beginning the job of
removing the fish from the water, using buckets and
skip loader then carried them to big trash bins.
Officials initially estimated there were millions of
fish, but Fish and Game roughly estimated about a
officials estimated the cleanup would cost $100,000.
Fire Chief Dan Madrigal said the fish would be taken to
a landfill specializing in organic materials.
On the water, nature
was tackling the problem in other ways.
"The seals are gorging
themselves," Hughan said.
Large groups of other
fish could be seen nibbling at the floating mats of dead
"The sea's going to
recycle everything. It's the whole circle-of-life
thing," Hughan said.
Trudy Padilla, the
marina's tenant services coordinator, said the dead fish
suddenly began showing up overnight, and that one end of
the marina was blocked off as cleanup operations got
She said the smell of
decay has not become so strong yet, "but it's going to
if they don't clean up the fish."
King Harbor Marina
provides 850 boat slips to private vessels.