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Sardines from Redondo Beach harbor to be made into fertilizer

The massive fish die-off in a Southern California marina is a boon for a Mojave Desert composting firm that is recycling the stinking haul for use as fertilizer.

March 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The millions of dead sardines found in Redondo Beach's King Harbor will be made into fertilizer.

Trucks took about 75 tons of rotting sardines to Victorville's American Organic site in the first four days of the cleanup. American Organic will now compost the stinking haul.

A USC biologist reported finding high levels of a powerful nerve toxin in the dead fish. The biologist said Domoic acid may explain why the fish crowded in the marina. The toxin has been linked to neurological disorders, illnesses and deaths in other sea life.

The compositing process is expected to eliminate the Domoic acid.

Last Monday, critically low oxygen levels in the water caused the sardines to suffocate. Some 140 tons of the dead sardines washed up in the marina.

Clean up at King Harbor was completed Sunday.