Locals have been left completely baffled after thousands of fish washed up on Marazion Beach, near Penzance, in the popular tourist destination of Cornwall. The latest incident follows a similar beaching just two weeks ago.
Instead of sand, sardines and other small fish carpeted the beach as far as the eye could see. Witness Katrina Slack said she had never seen anything like it in her life, saying it looked as if the waves themselves were made of fish.
While she had set off down to the beach to take images of starlings, she said she ended up snapping the eerie sight of so many dead fish instead: She added: “The closer I got I realised the beach was just covered in dead fish and more and more were coming in with every wave. It was a horrible but breathtaking scene.”
Most of the fish were sardines, but some were mackerel and herring. It follows a similar fish stranding at nearby Pentewan Beach close to St Austell, which is around 40 miles from Marazion.
Weather or tides?
The Marine Conservation Society’s Jean-Luc Solandt explained that mass strandings such as this one were usually the result of weather or extreme tides. He said that investigations had been carried out into whether any oil and gas firms were carrying out testing, but nothing appeared to be going on.
Therefore, he said the most probably explanation was fishing vessels dumping their catch. However, Paul Trebilcock from the Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation said that fishermen would not be deliberately throwing away their catch. However, he said that he a haul was too large for nets to cope with, they escaped, leading to such events as these strandings.
The Cornwal Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority said that no one liked to see this amount of fish ending up as seagull food, and that discussions were taking place with fishermen to ensure that such occurances did not happen in future.