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Testing rules out red tide as cause of Redondo Beach fish die-off

March 8, 2011 | 12:29 pm

California wildlife officials investigating the massive fish die-off Tuesday at King Harbor in Redondo Beach found nothing toxic or hazardous after testing the water.

Water testing and examination of the dead fish helped scientists rule out that an algal bloom cycle known as a red tide caused the die-off,  said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game.

“Every indication is that this is a naturally occurring event,” he said. “It’s just a mess. It’s going to smell for a while, but the city’s doing a great job with the cleanup.”

Part of King Harbor was cordoned off as some 75 workers used wheelbarrows and tractors to scoop smelly fish carcasses from the marina. A lifeguard used a small pool net to pull fish off the back of a lifeguard boat.

“It’s quite a phenomenon,” said Leonel Lopez, 25, a jogger from El Segundo looking out on rows of docked boats surrounded by a silvery sheen of dead fish. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

City officials first learned of the die-off about 8 a.m. with a phone call, said Sgt. Phil Keeman of the Redondo Beach Police Department.

He said it would take about a day to remove the fish from the surface of the harbor. But fish that died on the bottom of the harbor could take time to float to the surface.

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-- Nate Jackson in Redondo Beach

Photo: Dead fish float inside King Harbor. Credit: KTLA News.

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