• VIDEO: Millions of Mackerel Crowd Monterey Harbor

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    Monterey Facing Potential Fish Die-Off at Its Harbor

    Monterey Marina is experiencing huge numbers of mackerel and sardines in the harbor and officials are concerned about the potential of a fish die-off as occurred in 1996.

    That year, so many fish came into the harbor and stayed that they literally suffocated as all the oxygen in the water was used up. The smell of an estimated 1000 tons of dead, oily fish was disgusting and could be smelled for miles. Seabirds were affected as well.

    Phenomena like this are not new to the Central Coast. Harbor Master Steve Scheiblauer was part of a team which came up with the idea of aerators to combat mass kills of bait fish like sardines, anchovies, market squid and mackerel when he was harbor master in Santa Cruz, between 1975 and 1994. They have used the aerators half a dozen times with apparent success.

    Officials have set out 15 aerators under the water to stir it up and create bubbles. The hope is that enough air will be added to the water that the fish will not run out of oxygen.

    It is not known whether the fish came in because they were driven by predators  — there is a large number of humpback whales in the Bay right now, for example – or because there is a large red tide in the Bay, or some other reason. “Fish like these are very sensitive to ocean conditions,” said Scheiblauer. “They are affected by the slightest change in ocean temperature, for example.”

    And he gives his favorite quote: “You’d think with that much schooling, they’d know better.”

    The video of the hordes of fish is provided by the City of Monterey.


    posted to Cedar Street Times on June 25, 2015

    Topics: Front PG News


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