This Stinks: Anchovy Carcasses Fill Los Angeles Harbor

Officials rush to clean up after mysterious massive killing.

ByABC News
March 8, 2011, 9:32 AM

March 8, 2011 — -- Hold the anchovies? Not in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Workers from various local agencies are still scooping hundreds of thousands of dead anchovies, mackerel and sardines from the waters at King Harbor Marina after a massive fish kill occurred there this morning.

"We have people on docks with skimmer nets and people on boats getting them out of the water," said Debbie Talbot of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. "They'll be working well into the evening hours."

Talbot said the die-off was likely caused by severe winds that hit the area Monday night. She said the sea was rough and the fish may have been seeking safe harbor.

"There were so many of them, the oxygen in the water completely depleted," she said.

Talbot said that when the water was checked this morning, the oxygen level was at zero. Fish can survive in water with a level 5 or higher.

Staci Gabrielli, marine coordinator for King Harbor, told The Associated Press that the carcasses were so thick in some places that boats could not get out of the harbor.

The dead fish will be dumped back in the water, taken to landfills or recycled at plants.

Residents said they were not aware of anything that might have led to the massive fish kill.

"Yesterday everything looked absolutely normal," one man, Walter Waite, told The Contra Costa Times. "This morning when I got up, there were millions and millions of them floating everywhere."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.