Thursday July 7, 2022

San Francisco Chronicle

The thousands of anchovies that piled up on the eastern shore of Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County last week created a strange, disturbing image, but were most likely part of a natural cycle, scientists say.

On June 26, a resident first noticed that the side of the lagoon was piled with the tiny silver fish, in a band several feet thick. Anchovies swim in schools, and the theory is that a large one was pushed into the lagoon by birds and then trapped by its sand bar. With so many fish stuck in a relatively small body of water, there wasn’t enough oxygen, which killed the fish and stranded them on shore, said Samantha Haimovitch, a superintendent with Marin County Parks, which manages the lagoon.

The fish disappeared by Friday, washed out by the tide, said Haimovitch, who added that they weren’t around long enough even to create a bad smell. The die-off was first reported by KGO Bay Area.

Locals have noted such a phenomenon happens every 10 to 15 years, Haimovitch said.

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