While enjoying the scenic setting of Noordhoek beach over the weekend, many locals were left puzzled by the huge numbers of dead fish lying out on the light sandy shores.

We spoke to Professor Mark Gibbons from the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the University of the Western Cape who said it is likely that this occurrence is related to the seasonal lull of the lagoon.

Hundreds of dead fish lying on the sand.

“The most logical answer would be they have been left high and dry. To the best of my knowledge there is nothing else that could explain the fact that they are all lagoonal species. If it was wider event, we would have expected to see many other species involved, including invertebrates,” says Gibbons.

As the lagoon waters recede with the arrival of warmer temperatures they leave these tiny species of fish without any water to swim in, so what may seem like an unusual incident is all part of nature.

The fish then act as a good source of food for seabirds and passing carnivores.

A closer look at the stranded fish.

So if you stumble upon a large group of stranded fish on a local beach, have no fear, nothing unusual or dangerous has taken place, it is just a natural occurrence for this time of year.

Pictures: Faye Dakers

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