Anchovy alert: Swarms of silver-striped fish take over Santa Cruz coastline

Officials in Santa Cruz issued an alert after swarms of anchovies took over the coastline.

The Santa Cruz Harbor says oxygen levels can drop in the water when schools of fish flood the water and can cause fish populations to stress or die off.

To prevent a large-scale die-off, harbor staff are monitoring the abundance of fish and utilizing specialized equipment to measure levels of oxygen.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported the last big baitfish die-off occurred in the late summer of 2014 and led to a massive cleanup effort at the harbor and a foul fishy smell to permeate along the affected coastline. 

Harbor officials told the Sentinel that the phenomenon could be caused by predators such as whales or sea lions driving the fish toward the coast, but it could also be due to ocean conditions such as a lack of oxygen further out at sea.