March 8th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

Millions of dead anchovies float to surface in Redondo Beach

Enough anchovies to top much of the world’s pizza and Caesar salads have floated lifelessly to the surface in Redondo Beach, California's King Harbor, according to a local newspaper.

Officials say millions of the pungent, oily fish are covering the sea bottom in the harbor. They began rising to the surface Tuesday morning, the Daily Breeze in Torrance, outside Los Angeles, reported.

“We need to get rid of them,” Sgt. Phil Keenan of the Redondo Beach Police Department told the paper. “This is going to create a terrible pollution and public health issue if we don't.”

Fire, police and public works officials have yet to cite a definite cause, but Keenan said the fish appear to have died from lack of oxygen.

There were no red tides (oxygen-depleting algae blooms) or other obvious phenomena that could have caused the mass deaths, the paper reported.

“Yesterday, everything looked absolutely normal,” Walter Waite, who lives at the harbor, told the newspaper. “This morning when I got up, there were millions and millions of them floating everywhere.”

The temperature in Southern California is expected to climb into the 70s Tuesday, exacerbating the urgency of removing the scads of 6-inch fish scattered throughout the harbor.

Read CNN's full coverage of the dead anchovies in a California harbor
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Filed under: Animals • California • Environment • Nature • U.S.
soundoff (493 Responses)
  1. scott

    Did OJ take a redeye to the east last night?

    March 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sark

    You all realize that mass die offs have always occurred thought history. There is nothing new here, just in today’s world you get a news article on it the day it happens.

    March 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Herman the Sturgeon

    Kewl, lunch!

    March 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bubba Hotep

    Elvis needs his anchovies, it's pizza night on the space ship.

    March 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tewrobert

    We have had massive die offs here around Mobile bay and Gulf shores. No anchovies, Even before the oil spill.........

    Its only to be expected.....Greenpaeace needs to come and explore the three large rivers that empty into mobile bay.....They might do something, All the so called inspectors have been bought and paid for by the mills along these rivers......We are self destructing.........Just a matter of time.......

    March 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Sounds like a hypoxic event, where the oxygen content of the water drops too low. It's not only red tides that can suck the oxygen out of the water!

      March 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • demonfeed

      Don't over-react yet. Large schools of fish swimming into shallow water produce fish kills way more often than you would think. When you have millions of organisms that normally live in the open ocean suddenly coming into shallow water, they WILL deplete the oxygen in the water at incredible rates. The fish kills in Louisiana and on the New England coast were both attributed to the same behavior.

      Pollution could be a factor, but I am betting you the dead fish aren't just anchovies. Anything that needed oxygen would have died along with them if the O2 level dropped substantially. Sharks chase anchovies inland to make feeding on them easier. In the open ocean, the anchovie schools have plenty of room to evade predators, and they disorient sharks and the like which helps the entire school survive. So this is more than likely some kind of predation occuring out in the ocean or something scaring the anchovies into shallow water.

      That, or we are attracting them inland with something we are using in our boats, fuel, or possibly even radio/navigation signals. That would be where my focus was, if I were the marine biologists studying the event.

      March 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoWorries

      Don't worry about it. I'm sure the naysayers are like this are completely normal, and in no way could be attributed to our mass pollution of the planet, or any variable other than the fish were simply not smart enough to stay where they had oxygen. Amazing given their small mental capacities, that they manage to stay in the water at all.

      March 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Sr

      You are absolutely correct

      March 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • SicilianSam

      Notice there are no birds eating the Fish......? Anyone......? Something toxic is going on there and nature knows it .

      March 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Maybe they were the test marketing group for Kim Kardashian's latest music single?

      March 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enoch100

      The fish were forced to listen to Lady Gag-a.....

      March 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • LikeMyAxxholeBoss

      Probably smells better than my axxhole boss.

      March 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vicki Bradley

      What I find amazing is how it is always one type of fish at a time – not various types – just one type – so what specially can be going on that would effect one type of fish at a time – seems to me that is very odd

      March 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jpatterson

      All these hypothesis on this board are nice and all but what we really need are all the facts before we jump to any conclusions. An in depth investigation would be great.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • demonfeed

      Wow... You don't see birds eating fish in a picture, therefore the fish are filled with toxins... Pollution kills animals, therefore pollution caused this fish kill. Do you guys ever think about anything for more than 5 minutes?

      Contrary to the alarmists above, global warming isn't just caused by carbon dioxide and the stuff in hair spray... Carbon Dioxide accounts from between 9% to 26% of all greenhouse gases... Want to know something you didn't read in the paper? Water vapor is a greenhouse gas too. And it accounts for about 72% of all greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, almost 3 times the amount of CO2.

      So, the biggest threat of global warming doesn't come from your cars' tailpipe or your can of hairspray... It comes from naturally occurring water vapor. Also, each of the greenhouse gases reflect the SAME amount of radiation at the same frequency, which is what causes the greenhouse effect. There isn't one thing that is the most dangerous, it is the combination of them ALL that create global warming.

      To have the audacity to say that "It was this because I did not see this" just shows the lack of time you put into your rebuttals here. Go take a basic biology course and research some ACTUAL fish kills before you spread your ignorance with your idiot-holes. Just take a 10 or 20 minutes to read up on the subject a little...

      As for the birds not eating the dead fish, how do you know they aren't? This is from the Huffington Post:

      "An estimated one million fish turned up dead Tuesday in a Southern California marina, creating a floating feast for pelicans, gulls and other sea life and a stinky mess for harbor authorities."

      So yes, they are eating the fish. Also, in the video above, there is a dolphin or something swimming around right as the video starts. If there are that many dead, toxin-infested fish, why is he swimming around in the middle of them? Because it is a mammal, can breathe air... The low oxygen levels aren't messing with it. If there were that many dead fish, that would mean there is alot of this "toxin" you guys keep mentioning. Since it is alive and well, that is an absolutely untrue statement. Any 4th grader could have watched that video and figured that out.

      You people will run with any thought, won't you? Just do a little research before you start posting stuff on here, the ignorant actually believe what you are saying, and you are spreading mis-information at the sake of a few minutes of alarmist panic.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Naomi J Rock

      Lack of oxygen killed the anchovies? Do they think we are all idiots? Water = H2O right? Subtract the O2 and you are left with hydrogen. The bay is not filled with hydrogen, it is filled with water and water is hydrogen bound to oxygen. The explanation of the bird deaths in AR was a mass suicide? Give me a break. And the drum fish death due to a virus which they all just happened to catch at the exact same moment so they could die at the same time. Remember this is not a die off that is taking place over weeks or months where viruses run their course differently in each fish, animal or human depending on the individual health and ability to fight off the viruses, nor do we see a slow spread of it as it passes from one fish to another and then another and then another. No these are mass deaths and the only rational conclusion I can see that would account for this is sound waves .... Google HAARP.... It also would explain the bizarre earthquakes. Also google research in sound waves and you might be very surprised at what you learn. I have to wonder what that reporter was thinking when they were told it was due to a lack of oxygen that affected only one species... Good grief... get a brain!

      March 9, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • krill25

      Tewrobert, you are right there other reasons that can cause these massive kills.One reason that doesnt seem to get much attention is theannual "dead zone" in the gulf caused by the extreme discharge of pesticides and fertilizers out of the mouth of the mississippi river from the farmland that encompasses the entire mississippi river. Regardless its har to believe there are natural reasons for these kills that plague the news.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • papa john

      Several pizzas were also found floating on the surface.

      March 28, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Shub

    Maybe the fish aren't getting ENOUGH pollution. *OR* they're just getting ready for May 21st early.

    March 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timmy

      Maybe they had dumped Kayne West's latest album after it wouldn't sell and dropped the entire project in the pacific ocean?

      March 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pigmore

    Nah, you're all wrong. It's all those surfers peeing in the drink from their boards. Feds ought to take control and make it a federal felony punishable by 5 years to life. However since the prisons are overcrowded it should be a mandatory diaper sentence,somewhat like an ankle monitor. Obumma and the gang can print up a few more billion and start the UEA (Urination Enforement Agency), who could patrol under the surface in diving gear, collecting those telltale yellow spots and bust them good. I gotta stop cooking up this gin in my bathtub.


    The Zorro of sarcasm strikes again

    March 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Papa John

      I totally disagree. Let the Tea Party take care of it, but it will have to be called the Pee Party. That way when they get together for a Tea Pee Party there'll be enough paper around to wipe the stench of their gathering.

      March 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      I've got some specially bottled, yelllow L.A. surfer water for you.

      March 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. steve

    Was this school of fish home-schooled or public schooled?

    March 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Papa John

      Neither. They were bussed in.

      March 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ccaze

    I hate anchovies anyway.

    March 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jn

    Does this have anything to do with the amount of methane leaking from the ocean floor around Santa Barbara?

    March 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      That sounds very possible, also the fact that CA has been having way above normal quake activity since '08 all over the state. Everything has been crackling both before and after the Easter quake last year. I would't be suprised if there is a methane leak or something similar off the Redondo shore that suffocated the fish. They had liquefaction problems in the 94 quake.

      March 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sal

    I think it's obvious, fireworks or other loud noises must have startled them causing them to fly into houses and power lines and such. Any other explanation is a conspiracy theory and automatically means you're in Al Qaeda according to the Patriot Act.

    March 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ken

      this comment makes the whole story

      March 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • napdiggity

      its bush's fault.

      March 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • TG

      SAL – lmao... sooo true bud. Perfect answer! 🙂

      March 9, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hawaiikaos

    It's not a sign of the apocalypse, nor is it likely to be related to other recent die-offs. From what I can glean from the article, scientists don't know what caused it, and if investigated they still might not be able to come to a conclusion about it. We know very little about what goes on in the ocean or have a complete view of how ocean ecosystems work. Since the apparent cause of death is oxygen depletion, it could be:

    - an unknown algal bloom (which sucks up oxygen, and could be triggered by unusual undersea currents or an imbalance in the ecosystem that reached a tipping point)

    - ocean floor methane outgassing, which could be caused by a buildup of gasses from rotting biomass on the sea floor (this has been known to happen on lakes)

    - volcanic outgassing. There may have been an undersea eruption that released volcanic gasses, though this would probably have been noticed. Volcanic outgassing is known to happen over undersea volcanoes and is a rare but serious risk to vessels (the gas changes the density of the water and boats sink without warning)

    - over-saturation of carbon dioxide in the ocean. The ocean acts as the biggest carbon sink on the planet but as climate change progresses it's nearing a saturation point that will turn the ocean too acidic for many life forms (think carbonated water). It already affects many coral reefs, but it's slow and broad for a quick and localized mass event like this

    It's unlikely to be a specific pollution event (like an oil spill), since that would show up in the fish. It's unlikely to be HAARP or any other government conspiracy theory. Any undersea E/M or sound wave technology would be more likely to affect marine mammals more visibly than anchovies (undersea microwave transmitters, maybe), and that wouldn't account for the oxygen depletion.

    And how do scientists know that it is oxygen depletion? The blood of the fish would show the oxygen content at death since they stopped breathing (or whatever it is they do with their gills) when their tiny little hearts stopped.

    March 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      So basically it's anything as long as it can't be traced back to human activity and big corporations? Wow is it hard to eat right in Candy Land?

      March 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      over-saturation of CO2 in the ocean is due to man made pollution. When we dig up coal and oil and burn it, we are adding carbon into the ecosystem which was previously locked into the earths crust. The ocean has an amazing ability to absorb carbon dioxide, which is why global warming isn't accelerating as fast as thought. The "Tipping Point" may very well have been reached, and global warming will accelerate at a furious pace now as the oceans are saturated.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. HugeFish

    Did you see the big fish in the video, rewind to see it, it's a huge fish down there!

    March 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Papa John

      Nah, it's just Sheen trying to get lunch...that or looking for his favorite crack pipe.

      March 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sparker

    I do, yet don't even want to know how polluted our oceans and rivers are. The last time I was in So. Cal., the water at the beach smelled so bad I didn't even want to wade in it. The trash island in the Pacific is appaulling, and the fact that all the coral reefs are suffering tells me that things are far worse than most want to admit. How can we clean it up? We call all go "green", sure, but we also need to clean up what's there. I also feel that we could go back to a 9-5 world rather than a 24/7 world to save on energy. Why does everything have to be open 24 hrs/day? We're wasting energy, creating pollution, and driving oursevles insane. I can't tell if we're headed in the right or wrong direction, but it feels wrong.

    March 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Burgermeister Meisterburger

    Gaga must've been swimming nearby. stenchy

    March 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
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