Thousands of anchovies turned up dead over the weekend in Marina Del Rey near Los Angeles.
State wildlife officials believe the fish died from low oxygen levels, reported the Los Angeles Times.
They think the fish were using the marina for cover from predator fish. They likely became trapped in the marina and sucked up too much oxygen out of the water, causing them to die of en-masse.
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Department of Fish and Wildlife members believe they spotted the large school anchovies a week earlier during an aerial survey above beaches.
“We suspect these were the same ones later found in the harbor, and may have sought cover from a predator species,” said spokeswoman Janice Mackey. “Once in the harbor, the fish school became trapped, and subsequently depleted all of the available oxygen in the water.”
As you can imagine, Marina Del Rey is very stinky right now. The dead fish started floating up to the surface on Saturday, and by Sunday the harbor was covered in a silvery blanket of stinky fish carcasses.
Cleanup crews have already collected more than six tons of the dead fish. They’ve been aided by the local birds and sea lions, which are thoroughly enjoying the all-you-can eat anchovy buffet.
Mass fish die-offs caused by oxygen depletion aren’t that uncommon. This incident pales in comparison to a similar fish die-off back 2011 in King Harbor, when millions of fish became trapped in the harbor and died off.