The phone calls started coming into the Ventura Harbor Patrol around 6 a.m. Monday. Boaters were already noticing a large number of dead fish floating in the water. One officer said that in the past year, there have been three or four times that this has happened, and in recent days, he was worried that this was going to happen again.
Once again, something's fishy along our Southern California coastline: Another fish die-off, this one in the Ventura Harbor.
"It looks like the majority of them are anchovies and sardines and I saw a few perch though also," said Pat Hummer, senior patrol officer at the harbor. "We're talking thousands, there's a lot of fish."
Hummer is the senior patrol officer for Ventura Harbor. He says the fish likely died from lack of oxygen. And he says he thought that for the past week, this might happen.
"There was just a lot of baitfish in this harbor the last few days and when they all come in, they all suck up all that oxygen out of the water and that's when they start struggling," said Hummer.
Sea lions, seagulls, and pelicans have been swooping in to eat the fish. The rest are being cleaned up by the Ventura Harbor Patrol.
"We got the majority," said Hummer. "We probably got 90-something percent of the dead fish out of the harbor. And I think Mother Nature, the birds, the sea lions will take care of hopefully the rest of them."
This fish kill is on a much smaller scale compared to what was seen in Redondo Beach early last month when 2.5 million sardines were killed weighing roughly 175 tons.
"Well we've taken and disposed of about 15 to 20 fifty-gallon barrels of dead fish," said Hummer.
Because this is a relatively small number of anchovies and sardines, the Game and Fish Commission gave the Harbor Patrol the OK to go and dump the fish out at sea and let nature take its course, but there's still a lot of baitfish in the harbor and some of the officers were saying they are a little concerned that this might happen again Tuesday.