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In California, millions of dead fish were found floating in the Redondo Beach marina in mid March. Marine biologists have been puzzled about the cause of death of the anchovies, sardines and mackerel.
Public works crews had already removed 35 tons of fish after just a day of cleaning up, mostly by skimming the ocean surface. They expect at least that amount has collected on the bottom of the inner harbor in a 2-foot-thick layer. The workers were trying to work fast. As the fish start to decompose, oxygen-eating bacteria could cause levels to dip a second time and kill anything else living in the harbor. The decay also could boost nutrients in the harbor, leading to an algae bloom that could also deplete oxygen to critically low levels. “The issue now is cleanup because we have tons and tons of dead fish rotting and purifying, which obviously creates hazardous material,” Redondo Beach police Sgt. Phil Keenan told Reuters.
Environmental officials have been trying to determine the cause of the latest animal die-off in a year, so far, that has been filled with mysterious animal deaths. Redondo Beach City Manager Bill Workman said that city officials and marine experts are investigating to determine if there is any environmental issue involved. Tests are now being performed on the water as officials begin removing the dead fish, which city officials estimated to be in the millions. “There are no visible signs of any toxins that might have caused [the die-off] and our early assessment is that this was oxygen depletion,” Workman said. “This is similar to what we experienced five years ago but that was distinctly a red tide event but there’s no discoloration of the water, no associated foaming in the waves,” Workman said. “There are no oil slicks or leaking of substances into the water.”
2011 began with thousands of birds falling out of the sky in Arkansas. There has been large bird deaths reported in Italy, Sweden, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and California. Marine life has also been affected. Hundreds of thousands of fish were found dead in the Arkansas River, not far from the first bird deaths. Fish were found dead in Florida, New Zealand, and Illinois. An estimated 40,000 crabs washed ashore in England during January. Two million fish were found dead in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. In Brazil, millions of dead fish washed up on the beach.
Experts report that the alarming animal deaths are not related. But, they still have not found a definitive cause for most of the animal deaths.