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Massive fish die-off likely due to oxygen depletion, not pollution, Redondo Beach officials say [Updated]

Dead Fish Mystery

Redondo Beach officials said initial assessments suggest oxygen depletion in the King Harbor basins caused the massive fish die-off.

City Manager Bill Workman said city officials with the help of marine experts would help determine if there was 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.”

Workman noted that the harbor had been teeming in recent weeks with bait fish that even after their deaths “had no signs of degradation.”

“It looks like what happens to goldfish when you don’t change the water in the tank, mouth open and belly up,” Workman said.

Although he said it did not appear that the die-off was due to a red tide, the city diverted all of its city crews to the harbor to help with the response to the fish kill by bringing in dumpsters and nets.

Workman also said the city was preparing to call in volunteers to assist with the cleanup. In addition, he said, marine biologists that deal with red tide monitoring also came to harbor to assist, including from USC's marine biology department.

Fish, including anchovies, sardines and mackerel, were floating lifeless in Basins 1 and 2 of the north side of King Harbor Marina.

"There’s basically fish everywhere you go in the harbor," said the harbor's assistant manager, Jason McMullin, who added that there were reports that a red tide may have driven the fish into the harbor in massive numbers, where they died because of limited oxygen.

[Updated at 11:35 a.m.: Marine biologists from USC have been dispatched to King Harbor to test for elevated levels of dissolved oxygen, a key indicator of whether the cause of the fish die-off was a harmful algal bloom.

USC installed oxygen sensors in the harbor after a mass fish die-off in 2005, and since then researchers have been monitoring the harbor to better understand what happened, said biological sciences professor David Caron.

When there is a preponderance of algae in a single area, they can consume massive amounts of oxygen in the water and can deprive other sea creatures of the air they need to live. But algae can also produce toxins that can kill marine life.

“What we're trying to tease apart is whether it's a consequence of algal buildup, a fish buildup or something toxic in the water,” Caron said.

They plan to check the monitoring devices Tuesday and later use robotic vehicles to probe the harbor for other clues about the cause of the fish kill, Caron said.]

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-- Andrew Blankstein and Tony Barboza in Los Angeles and Nate Jackson in Redondo Beach

Photo: King Harbor from the air this morning. Photo credit: KTLA News.

 
Comments () | Archives (44)

Retribution from on high for extending the tax cuts for people making more than $250,000. Next week: A plague of woodpeckers will descend on the homes in Aspen, Colorado!

Has anyone seen Luca Brasi too?

This is news worthy - but let's dispel the sky is falling/global warming krap.

Its a natural cycle. I've been fishing Kind Harbor for over 35 years and this happens about 1 or 2 times per decade.

Suprised LA TiMze is quoting book of Revelations or Nostradamus.....

Wow.... this is crazy! whats next?

Instead of hauling the dead anchovies to the dump the city should make some money by selling them to bait shops -- like the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

Hey rocket scientists.... News flash:
Pollution -> algae -> less O in H2O -> dead fish
so, yes Pollution DID cause these dead fish.

This seems very unusual. We had a very bad red tide event here on the Gulf Coast of Fla. several years ago, but I cannot recall any large-scale fish die-off similar to this one. Our event was very likely due to nitrogen from a Mosaic tailing pond that broke and ran down into the Alafaya River and then out to sea, where it formed and floated back in. It was terrible for tourism. Redondo seems to have more than its share of tragedies - remember that huge fire that destroyed half the pier back in '90s?

If only there could be a way to take and process all those fish to produce fish emulsion, fish meal and/or hydrolyzed fish fertilizer.

The more I read about massive die-offs of animals, the more I believe that we are living in the end times. It shouldn't be long before humans die off in huge numbers from famine and disease. Fortunately, I'm moving to Israel in a month, where the only thing I'll have to worry about is keeping in The Almighty's good graces. Good luck to the rest of you.

"Noooooo, its not pollution or nuthin', must be some oxygen depletion. Come on down, the water's fine!"

Wow ! Sheen and Gadafi are finely upstaged on the LA Times. Hey, Sue! Aren't you glad you moved to the beach?

Massive bee die-offs, bird die-offs, fish die-offs.... who's next?

Good day to be a South Bay pelican...

"Anchovies, sardines and mackerel . . ." Sounds like a bait barge capsized. Quick--bring the pizzas! :)

What does Obama plan to do about this? Hmmm?

"the water is warm...but it's sending me shivers..."--Kids by MGMT
Still think GLOBAL WARMING is joke?

"Dead Flag Blues" by Godspeed You! Black Emperor comes to mind when looking at photos like these...

.

The challenge is to eat them while they are still fresh.

Call in the Fat people for a big all you can eat fish fry.

.

So... can I eat those fish? Are they safe for human consumption? If they are... I'm gonna be grilling fish on my bbq for weeks (after they're frozen, of course)!

very sad...in my opinion i do kinda believe most the of the cause of death to the fish is polution, but yet it could be the signs of oxygen depletion as well...

Never heard of this happening in Redondo Harbor. Hmmm. The BIG MOON is coming. This could be an omen!

Whatever the exact cause is of this calamity, we need to figure it out quickly. Imagine this started happening in fishing ports around the world. Is this associated with global warming and what happened to larger fish between the harbor and Catalina?

Photos are posted on the Redondo news site http://bit.ly/ffbhZh

Monsanto has issued a statement that their millions of tons poisonous chemicals that are flushed into the oceans have nothing to do with this or the bee colony collapse. Mention their name and they will sue.

All these fish should be rendered into emulsion and then be distributed to farmers across the nation,particularly because of non-toxicity issues.It's a good use of tax money for our long term welfare.

In the Bible 1/3 of sea life dies. Revelations

 
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