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. banasy

    When skyrats won't touch them...

    March 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ituri

    It could have easily been an effect from the 4 pointer earthquake Cali had in that area, or an issue with a gaseous release under the sea from vents. It does happen now and then. Unfortunatley, anchovies are a feeder fish, which means we might not see such healthy populations of other feeding fish. Cycle of life, most likely. Or it may have been some sort of contagion, in that case we should be careful how we handle the dead fish.

    March 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ball Scruber

    There goes the price of Caesar salad dressing.

    March 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mikey

    Everyone is making excuses for what's been happening. Yes...there are mass die offs from time to time, but over the past several months we have seen flocks of bird fall from the sky in at least 3 locations, mass fish die offs in different parts of the world, bees are disappearing eagles are falling from the sky in Canada and Dolphin, both babies and adults are washing up on the gulf shore. Now it's the anchovies. The last one is pretty clear with the BP spill...but put all of these together and you have to ask "What's going on"?

    March 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin


      This event may well be natural rather than human-made. That is not an excuse. The other recent events might also be natural. That is not an excuse, either. Several crazy-sounding events in a row do not statistically provide evidence of doom.

      That being said, it would be ludicrous to believe that humans are not causing severe damage to many different ecosystems. Events like the one reported in this article are not what you should worry about - worry instead about the mass depletion of fish species in the ocean, the ongoing global extinction of coral reefs because of an increase in dissolved CO2, deforestation, and other truly massive disasters.

      March 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lola

    One fish two fish dead fish blue fish
    black fish blue fish old fish new fish
    some are red and some are blue. some are old and some are new.
    some were sad and some were glad. And all are very, very ... dead.
    Why are they dead and glad and bad? I dont know. Go ask your dad.
    Some are thin and some are fat. The fat one had a yellow hat.
    From there to here, from here to there, sad and dead things everywhere.
    Here are some who liked to run. They ran for fun in the hot, hot sun
    Oh me! Oh my!
    Oh me! Oh my!
    what alot of sad things go by.
    Some have two feet and some have four.
    Some have six feet and some have more.
    Where do they come from?
    I cant say.
    But i bet they have come a long, long way.
    We see them come.
    We see them go.
    Some were fast.
    And some were slow.
    Some are high.
    And some are low
    Not one of them is like another.
    Don't as us why.
    Go ask your mother.

    March 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackie

      Thanks, Lola. At last something positive! I believe the earthquake theory, and thats that!!

      March 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Richard Allen

    ...and extra cheese please.

    March 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Royale

    Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck were swimming there yesterday...

    March 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary

    Actually it's Sardines , pls read Edwin @ 2:48

    March 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. drager

    If this was a species-specific mass kill, then it cannot be attributed to the oil spill or red tide, both of which kill indiscriminately. If science can't explain this, then my theory is that genomes of groups of species can develop susceptibilities that lead to their demise if triggered by a single stimulus or a set of conditions. For instance, if a group has been completely geographically isolated for eons from other groups of the same species, with no chance of cross reproduction, then eventually the whole population attains a level of genetic identicality that makes them essentially a single organism. If an environmental factor to which this group is vulnerable arises, then the organism dies en masse. The cause could be anything from solar activity, tectonic activity to even the mass spawning of certain marine invertebrates that alter the chemical balance of the water.

    March 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. andy

    Drill baby drill. What could go wrong?

    March 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Matt

    There are thousands of incidents like this every year. It has been going on since the beginning of time. It has nothing to do with humans.

    March 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Follow the money trail when there are "millions" of dead anchovies.

    March 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • KRS1

      I can't tell if you are making a joke or not. Either way I'm laughing.

      March 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tai

    Probably taxed to death

    March 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bailoutsos

    Maybe it was May 21st according to their calendar?

    March 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. looknorth


    March 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
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