Thousands of dead sardines, believed to be the discarded catches of sardine fishermen who caught more than they could carry, have washed up onto the beaches of a Sinaloa town.
About three kilometers of shoreline in Bellavista, Guasave, has been carpeted with the fish, which were washed up by the tide. Photos and video of a massive amount of what is presumed to be the same fish floating in the water offshore were also captured by bystanders who posted them on social media.
The sudden appearance of the dead animals on shore launched an investigation by local and federal officials.
Francisco Guadalupe Soto, Guasave’s Civil Protection chief, said that local fishermen have alleged that the sardines were dumped by sardine boats that had caught too many fish and had no room for them.
Guadalupe said it was up to the federal authorities to further investigate the incident and find those responsible.
Officials with the federal environmental agency Profepa and the fishing and aquaculture agency Conapesca did a joint 15-kilometer tour of the beaches. Conapesca officials said there was no evidence that the sardines’ death was caused by contamination or red tide, since no other species were affected.
They also said the sardines’ death appear to have been the result of dumping by fishermen.
The agency said that it has been reviewing satellite images determine which fishing boat may have dumped the fish. They said that sardine fishermen have been operating in the area’s waters in recent days.
Local shrimp fishermen have also been reporting thousands of marine species floating close to shore, apparently brought in by the tide, accounts which have prompted a different investigation by federal authorities.