LA JOLLA, CA (KGTV) — Usually, we only see anchovies on pizza.
But a school of wild California anchovies so big it rivals anything seen off the San Diego coast in three decades was spotted by researchers!
KGTV shows us the massive cloud of tiny fish!
“It was an amazing experience. Thousands and thousands of fish. And when you dive down into the school, they respond to you, they swim off in all sorts of directions, they’ll swim around you, behind you. You can’t see where they start and where they end,” Jenn Moffatt, Birch Aquarium said.
Moffatt was one of the lucky ones. She swam with the fishes. This video was shot by snorkelers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who saw the same thing she did.
Their video shows not thousands, but millions of anchovies. And this is what it looked like from above.
“We could see schools extending all the way from the point in la jolla to as far as you could see to the north of us,” Scripps Marine biology professor Philip Hastings said.
The black band of fish extended for several miles and extended an estimated fifteen feet deep and 100 meters wide. Although it’s not unusual for northern anchovies to swim in schools, a school this big is unheard of, especially this far south.
KGTV asked if it could be because the water is so warm. Right now, hovering around 75-degrees.
“So it’s not really clear if the high water temperature affected their behavior, causing them to come into shore or not. It seems more likely that warmer water would force them off shore, so it’s really kind of a mystery as to why they’ve aggregated here in such massive numbers,” Hastings said.
Some divers who swam below the school said it was a complete blackout above.
They were the lucky ones, because almost as quickly as the massive school of anchovies formed, it also disappeared.