Thousands of tonnes of dead herring have been discovered washed ashore in west Iceland. The Icelandic newspaper Morgunbladid reported that the dead fish could amount to more than 30,000 tonnes, a catch worth nearly EUR 22 million, according to The Daily Mail. The discovery was made at Kolgrafafjörður near the Snæfellsnes peninsula, where experts say around 7,000 tonnes of dead herring are littering the beach or the ocean floor.
A small number of the fish have been collected by local schoolchildren and sold as animal fodder for charity purposes. Meanwhile, the remainder will be left for natural decomposition, officials from the West Iceland Centre of Natural History and the Environment Agency of Iceland said.
The scene has also attracted thousands of birds looking to fill up on the protein-rich fish.
The building of a local bridge and the nearby location of a landfill are the suspected causes of the deaths; experts from the Marine Research Institute say that both have likely lead to a lack of oxygen in the fjord, thereby suffocated the herring.
The news marks the second mass herring death in Iceland in recent weeks. A similar scene was found near the same fjord in mid-December, although theories as to why the fish died in that case pointed to a bacterial infection.