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Hi Guys

This last couple of days there have been 1,000s upon 1,000s of dead sprat washed up on the beach and lying dead in rock pools. I was new to the salt last year and so don't know if this is normal for this time of year, or whether it is something ecologically worrying ? Any comments ?

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Strange. Have you had any thunderstorms?
No. The weather has been very nice and very 'normal' - well if you consider sunshine 'normal' here in Ireland !

If this is not something you would normally see then I will report it to the environment agency.
 

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Ray,
Is it possible that you might have come across the remains of a large shoal that have been driven up the beach by a shoal of mackerel in a feeding frenzy. Have seen this a few times with Sandeel and Herring beaching themselves to get a way from the mackerel.
 

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Ray,
Is it possible that you might have come across the remains of a large shoal that have been driven up the beach by a shoal of mackerel in a feeding frenzy. Have seen this a few times with Sandeel and Herring beaching themselves to get a way from the mackerel.
Well I did wonder about that. In fact there were sandeels mixed in there also. But, in fact my wife found them while walking the dog yesterday and today and I found them several miles away from the beach where she found them - all part of Inver Bay here. They were spread over a wide area on the beach as well as in rock pools. It all seems a littler suspect to me. I never found anything like this at all at any time last year.
 

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Ray,
Is it possible that you might have come across the remains of a large shoal that have been driven up the beach by a shoal of mackerel in a feeding frenzy. Have seen this a few times with Sandeel and Herring beaching themselves to get a way from the mackerel.
It happens quite often here.
 

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Ray,
It might not happen too often only when the Mackerel shoals manage to corner a decent shoal of bait fish. Have seen it 3 times near to you. Muckros north of Killybegs, The sandy bay on St John's Point and the area around Creevy Pier. Might just be showing that you have a lot of bait fish in the area Ray.....get fishing.....


Absolutely love Donegal.
 

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Anyone actually know what it is? Do they die after spawning in the shallows or something?

I'll ask the chap who mentioned it, at a guess maybe predators/algae bloom??? I've read that pilchards washed up on beaches can be caused by their gills being clogged with fine silt.
 

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Usually it's mackerel, bass, pollack, coalfish etc herding the small bait fish against the shore & the things end up jumping for their lives & get stranded. You don't normally see the aftermath of these things unless you stumble on them as they have just happened, as the gulls have usually cleaned up straight away.
I have heard of the algal bloom theory as well suffocating the fish.
 

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hmmm, I'd be reporting that.

Never seen it but I do know low oxygen levels can cause mass death in small and large fish.
Seen it on rivers when surface temps exceed a set level.

Strange.
 

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I would maybe edge towards the predator side but its def someting to think about and a shame to actually see.
 

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Oxygen deprivation?

Caused by algal blooms which are caused by run-offs from farm fertilisers?
Good post and good topic to be checked out.

Phil
 

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algal bloom / Red Tide...... plus sulpher which stinks of rotten eggs will suck the oxygen out of the water. However I have never seen either in UK waters. Sprat always swim into wind but they dont jump out of the water if they come to the coastline. So that only leaves the preditor theory.
 

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Looks like the Mackerel/Gars/Bass had a good time, Happens here in Sussex on a couple of beaches (not quite at this level prehaps). Bait get pushed up on the shoreline, then chased by the predators. Results in loads of small baitfish along the beach.
As someelse has commented - Get back down there for high water and fish.
 

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I have often seen the aftermath of mackerel/bass chasing whitebait onto a beach but the gulls usually clean up the area in a few minutes. It is an amazing sight when you see it.

As a digression, I have not seen any evidence of mackerel this year on the beach in the Purbeck area I usually fish from which is very odd given the fantastic conditions that should have encouraged vast shoals of whitebait to build up. Plenty of bass and wrasse on early morning non family trips but not filled to the gills with whitebait. Sometimes we go mackerel fishing from Chesil beach as a family evening out party/barbecue after school but this year we have had very few fish on evenings that should have been perfect. It seems that most people we speak to tell the same story.

Not much of an answer to your concern but maybe you should report it to an official body. It does seem a bit strange if it is not the aftermath of of a feeding frenzy.

Nick.
 

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i've seen it happen on Chesil (but not this year yet), the mackerel chase them into the shallows and they have no where to go but onto the beach. because its steeply shelving a lot get washed back in by the next wave but i guess on shallower or uneven beaches they end up high and dry.
 
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