30 Tons of Dead Sardines Still in California Harbor

And that's after 50 tons have been collected in Redondo Beach
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2011 4:53 PM CST
30 Tons of Dead Sardines Still in California Harbor
Redondo Beach Fire Dept use a water hose to spray dead sardines off the sea bottom.   (AP Photo/The Daily Breeze, Brad Graverson)

California officials have begun the smelly, arduous task of cleaning up the millions of sardines (previously reported as anchovies) that suddenly died in Redondo Beach, near LA. Crews have cleared 50 tons from the shallow King Harbor marina so far, but an estimated 30 tons remain, the AP reports. "They're coming to the surface," said one police sergeant, noting that while that makes them easier to clean up, "they smell."

Officials worry that the mass decomposition starting to take place could reduce oxygen levels in the marina, killing other sea life—but the only way to combat that is to remove the fish. Wildlife officials still don't know what caused the die-off, but they said it was a natural event. "What this isn't is an oil spill or a chemical spill or an environmental disaster of any kind," said one. "It's a natural fish die-off. It's kind of natural selection. It's sad but it happens." (More fish die-off stories.)

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