More than a million dead sardines are choking the waters at a Los Angeles marina in the latest round of mass animal deaths.
On Tuesday morning, boaters at a marina in Redondo Beach, California, were shocked to find a mass of the silver fish blanketing the waters around their vessels. Officials told the Associated Press that the sardines likely suffocated after getting lost in the area.
“All indications are it’s a naturally occurring event,” said California Fish and Game Spokesman Andrew Hughan, who pointed at the number of dead sardines isn’t unusual. “In the world of fishing, this is an afternoon’s catch.”
Marina patrons, however, were still awed by how many fish covered the surface of Santa Monica Bay–especially considering that it had nothing to with a toxic algae that grows there. “The fishermen say they’ve never seen anything this bad that wasn’t red tide,” Andrew said.
Authorities speculate that the fish swam into the marina overnight and became disoriented. As the sardines began to clog the waters, they depleted the area’s supply of oxygen and died.
Tuesday city workers did their best to cart away the dead fish in wheelbarrows and bulldozers, but there is still more work to be done. Although L.A. officials estimate that cleaning up all the dead fish could cost $100,000, Andrew said area wildlife is also pitching in to help.
“The seals are gorging themselves,” he explained, adding that other types of fish are also nibbling at the dead sardines. “The sea’s going to recycle everything. It’s the whole circle-of-life thing.”