Dead fish wash ashore in Marina Del Rey

Monday, May 19, 2014
VIDEO: Dead fish surface in Marina Del Rey
Dead fish mysteriously rose to the surface at a section of Marina Del Rey. The number of fish were in the thousands.

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. (KABC) -- Massive cleanup efforts are underway after thousands of dead fish were found floating in Marina Del Rey Saturday afternoon, near Ballona Creek.

Anchovies, stingrays, halibut, sunfish and an octopus were among the thousands of dead fish that rose to the surface at Basin A of the marina near Tahiti Way, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Nearby residents said they knew something was wrong Saturday evening.

"It was like a Hitchcock movie. There were so many birds diving into the water and feeding. You could see the silver of the fish underwater, it was crazy," said Michael Quill of Marina Del Rey.

Why the fish washed ashore remains unknown, but the phenomenon allegedly happens once or twice a year.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife were called in to clean up the fish. Residents said the stench was overpowering.

Benjamin Kay, a marine biologist, calls this phenomenon an oxygen dead zone, caused by heat.

"When water is heated, it can't hold oxygen as normal as if it were cooler, then we get these massive fish kills. This is a classic harbor event," said Kay.

Similar incidents have occurred in Redondo Beach and the Ventura Harbor in the past. In those instances, the piles of dead fish were later used as fertilizer.

A nearby resident, who is also a fisherman, collected a few anchovies to use as bait on an upcoming fishing trip.

CNS contributed to this report.