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It is being speculated that a million dead sardines in a Southern California harbor (Redondo Beach) came from suffocation as the fish crowded together in shalllow water and depleted the oxygen supply.  Officials from the California Department of Fish and Game believe the fish kill is the largest in California history.  that officials could recall—appeared to be a fluke natural occurrence. Officials tested the waters for oil or chemicals and discovered nothing unusual. There also wasn't any visual evidence of "red tide," an accumulation of algae that cuts off oxygen—a big one hit Redondo Beach five years ago—though scientists were conducting more tests.

Experts theorized that fierce winds Monday night may have driven the sardines into the harbor in search of safety from the roaring ocean. The fish then may have swum to the northern corner of the harbor at the Kings Harbor Marina in search of an exit; so many fish in a small space could have depleted oxygen and killed them. (WSJ, 3/9/2011)