VIDEO: ‘Millions’ of shimmery fish in White Rock waters captivate

‘Millions’ of tiny fish were in Semiahmoo Bay on Christmas Day. (Christy Fox photo)
A midnight photo on Christmas Day shows thousands of dead fish. (Contributed photo)
A midnight photo on Christmas Day shows thousands of dead fish by White Rock’s pier. (Contributed photo)
Thousands of anchovy carcasses litter White Rock’s waterfront Friday, a feast for seagulls. (Tracy Holmes photo)
A sea lion surfaces while hunting anchovies in Semiahmoo bay Friday. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Seagulls dine on anchovies Friday. (Tracy Holmes photo)

A frenzy of fish captured people’s attention on White Rock’s waterfront Christmas Day – and much later into the evening.

The small swimmers – which the department of fisheries and oceans have identified as anchovy – have drawn dozens of seals and sea lions to Semiahmoo Bay in recent weeks, to dine on the shimmery creatures.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Seals and gulls swarm White Rock for fish-feeding frenzy

But while daytime photos and video submitted to Peace Arch News from Christmas Day show a flurry of activity as the fish circled and writhed through the waters, photos from around midnight depict a stark contrast; all of dead fish.

“Millions of fish on the White Rock beach at midnight at low tide last night,” writes Su Gu in a morning email to PAN Dec. 26.

“Never seen anything like this here.”

Fisheries researchers describe the situation as a natural occurrence. UBC’s director of marine mammal research Andrew Trites told CTV it was likely due to the large number of the anchovies in one area depleting the oxygen, causing many of the fish to suffocate.

Friday, the flurry of sea lion and seagull activity continued, as did people flocking to the waterfront to witness it.

“This is awesome,” said one young visitor as a sea lion surfaced briefly near the pier after fetching a mouthful of the tasty treats.

“Nom nom,” said another passerby.

Luva Lynne Atitlan, who came down with her partner Don Sturgeon to see the excitement for herself after reading about it in PAN, said the scene is one she’s never witnessed in her nearly four decades in White Rock.

“I’ve lived here (36) years and this is the first time I ever saw seals off the pier,” she said.

“I said, ‘we just have to go down and see it,’” she said. “And it’s lovely for everyone.”

Steve Puleo visited to take advantage of the anchovies’ demise, filling a bucket with the tiny carcasses to use for fertilizer in his garden.

He said while the smelts come in every year, he, too, has “never” witnessed the likes of what’s been seen this time around.

Add in the sea lion activity and “it’s really quite spectacular,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It’s election day in B.C. (Black Press files)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read