Millions of Sardines Die In Southern California Marina
Redondo Beach, California ⎮March 8, 2011 Tuesday 11:30am Pacific Time
Millions of Pacific Sardines were found dead in the King Harbor Marina in Redondo Beach, California, this morning after the sun had risen and provided light to this tragic event. The sardines were probably pushed into the Marina overnight due to high winds, high tides, and rough waves near the shoreline. The sardines may have become confused and were then trapped in the marina area. It is highly possible that poor oxygen levels in the marina's sea water may have suffocated the fish and they died due to a lack of oxygen.
With millions of dead fish on the water's surface and many more down below on the bottom of the marina, the marina itself will become a very unpopular place by tomorrow afternoon. And with air temperatures rising to 75˚F on Wednesday, it does not look good for the millions of sardines still alive and swimming around in the marina waters today. Having some experience with nearshore/offshore fishing and keeping sardines alive to be used as bait, this type of ocean fish needs to be in constant motion, swimming so that sea water is able to pass over their gills. If the oxygen levels in the marina's water were depleted to low levels how would the sardines survive? The sardines' movements would slow and they would not be able to extract out what little oxygen was left in the water. It must also be taken into account that the shallow water in the marina will allow the sun to beat down on the sardines. The sunlight will cause air, water, and fish body temperatures to rise which may result in even more dead fish to add to the already high mortality rate.
Just outside the marina harbor, dolphins or porpoises could be seen chasing small fish just beyond the surf line along the Redondo Beach shoreline which is next to the marina area. The dolphins came within 20 feet of surfers and body-boarders waiting to catch the next wave. The surfers were able to get close up views of these wild animal visitors as they swam along the shore. It is most likely that the small fish the dolphins were feasting on were schools of sardines. Groups of dolphins would drive the small fish to the surface and encircle them, rushing into the fish that they gathered together. At this point with the fish near the surface of the ocean, pelicans and other sea birds would then dive down from above into the sea to participate in the feeding activities. Dolphins from below and birds from above, the fish endure onslaught after onslaught as the predators feed. With so many fish outside of the marina, it is easy to see how the millions of fish became trapped in the marina last night by high winds and high seas. The sardines were probably pushed into the marina area by wave force. Add to that the maze like design of the breakwater rocks that protect the marina and it becomes a death trap with no easy way out for these wayward directed sardines.
The media was out in force to video and report on the massive amount of dead sardines and the clean up effort that had started since early this morning. Workers from the City of Redondo Beach, Harbor Patrol, Los Angeles County Lifeguards, and marina workers can be seen collecting the dead fish with nets, large buckets, huge carts, and even with a front loader tractor. A large hauler truck was seen driving into the area towards the collection site, apparently to pick up the large bins that the fish had been loaded in to make a final journey to the city trash dump. It will take a huge effort by the city to clean up this natural disaster before it turns the marina into a stagnant smelly pond of death and keeps all visitors away.