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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)

This happens on the east coast every year when the blue fish chase the bait fish into a closed area and the massive number of bait fish simply deplete the oxygen in the water. Don't waste your $ on figuring it out. Use the dead fish for fertalizer.
This is something that just happens.
Capt. Willy Hampton

Heartbreaking, and hardly anyone will care... certainly not for these fish, and also likely the underlying cause, which could affect us all.

Throw the fish in dumpesters??? Let recycle...Com'on smart people let use this dead fish..Where are all our smart people that can think of ways to help ourself!!

Let's see a show of hands........how many of us want Las Vegas to have a beach?

If this was SE Asia this could be a boon crop for fish sauce making. It seems a waste to just dump what could possibly be used as a food source in some way hauled out and dumped in a landfill. Rotting away in the right landfill could make for some rich soil.

Half billion gallons of sewage every day go into the ocean from San deigo & LA . Warm clorine water in the cold ocean. Global warming. Pump waste to evaprate in desert,

What he said (Albert Einstein, below) - I'd just add 'pollution' means something that shouldn't be there, i.e. phosphates that cause algae to grow:

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

Horrible as this is, but as others have mentioned can't this "food" be utilized somehow. If there is some relief aid going to Libya and these fish are not poisoned then wouldnt that be some how helping someone??

no. the big bad brown dwarf is coming aka comet elenin another thing the media don't want to talk about

This is the funniest thing I've seen today!

Fishapolyse!! Pescapolyse!! Ichtyapolis!!

No, Fish die when they suck up to much Oxygen, A large school
like that would do it quick. They where probably chased in by A Giant
Squid. REM coined it " Its the end of the world as we know it, I Feel Fine"

despite the logics that everyone posted...this could be a small hint of 2012,the change in weather,the new virus,bacteria are evolving to become immune to antibiotics.This will probably cause natural selection on the human population.

Ned Plimpton/ Kingsley Zissou: 'I still wish I could breath under water'.

Steve Zissou: 'yeah, me too'. 'This is going to hurt'.

I just want to ask a few questions . First , I understood that oxygen is found to be more closer to shore line because of the waves slaming onto the shore , then residing back , causing under tow ? The bubbles prove that . Second where are the other fish that died also from lack of oxygen ? Isn't it funny that only one kind of fish died . Third , What keep the fish from swimming back out to sea , shark ,net , wall ,or invisible force field ? Forth , being there was a lot of fish that died over night ,could this be harrp zeroing in on the frequency that this fish vibrate at and killed them like the lady singing and busting the glass by finding its frequency . Everything has a frequency . The new one world order is trying to thin out the population . Search (Georgia guide stones) and you will see . Food will become scarce soon . As I am writing this black bird have swarmed in and filled the trees . Something big is about to happen and they know it . Life as we know it is about to change . Get ready ! winds are going to roar , waves are going to become greater and higher . Earthquakes will increase ,chos is going to grow . Heat will also increase . The earth will soon shake wildly . This will be a time to grow closer to GOD . It is going to seem as if Heaven has forgot us . But not so .

Contradictory facts: "Elevated oxygen levels" is the correct result from algae bloom, not a depletion.

Oh wow. That is horrible. Any chance that may have been caused by tides bringing in the corvalent dispersant from the gulf spill?

... and what most often causes oxygen depletion in oceans? Pollution.

Why would low 02 in the water only kill off one species ? What about other species of fish in the area ? Waves oxygenate the water and remove c02. There are plenty of waves on the ocean.
Something sinister is afoot.

Hmmm maybe the fish knew about the Tsunami?? And probably the sharks and whales that were seen swimming together a few weeks ago.

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