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What's that smell? Marina del Ray residents turn up to stench of mass dieoff

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/19/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Algae bloom in Marina likely contributed to low oxygen levels in the water.

What's that smell? About 70,000 dead fish in Marina del Ray. Residents of the seaside community who depend on tourism and boating for their living noticed a smell late Saturday evening which prompted them to call police.

The mass of dead fish was great for the pelicans, but bad for most everyone else.

The mass of dead fish was great for the pelicans, but bad for most everyone else.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/19/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Marina del Ray, fish, die, 70, 000, algae, oxygen


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Police responded to a call from Marina del Ray around 9 p.m. on Saturday evening. Upon investigation, police noticed the water was filled with the stinking bodies of dead fish, bobbing on the surface.

Over the next day, experts examined the mass death of the fish and estimated that about 70,000 fish, mostly anchovies, had suddenly died in the bay. Among the anchovies were a few stingrays and angel sharks.

For those in peril on the sea... St. Andrew, patron saint of Fishermen.

The Marina is known for its tourism and boating activities including dinner and pleasure cruises which depart from the Marina. The area is also lined with restaurants. However, the smell of the decaying fish likely discouraged some visitors.

Despite the disgust, others turned out to see the marina filled with the silver bodies of anchovies. Anchovies can usually be seen schooling in the waters of the bay. However, such sights will be rare for a while as most or all of the bay's anchovy population is likely dead.

There is no official explanation for the mysterious death of so many fish, but the most likely culprit seems to be oxygen deprivation. The marina, although large, is still confined and a low tide of Saturday night may have contributed to a lack of oxygen in the water. Warmer weather may have contributed to an algae bloom in the marina, which would itself reduce the oxygen levels in the water.

Larger organisms which need more oxygen, such as fish and rays, would be among the first to die.

Such events have happened before. A similar mass death took place in King Harbor, to the south, in 2011. That dying was directly attributed to an algae bloom.

On Sunday, workers began the unenviable task of scooping the dead fish from the surface of the water, collecting between three to four tons of anchovies which were put into garbage bags and hauled away for disposal.

The businesses in the Marina are all open and operating normally. Experts say the fauna of the bay will return and that the loss of the anchovies while unfortunate is part of a rare, but occasional natural process and does not represent anything serious.

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