You may add dead fish to San Francisco's signature smells of micro-roasted coffee, avocado toast, and a lack of public restrooms.
Fish are washing up across the San Francisco bay area waterways. The largest algal bloom in the bay's recorded history has been spreading, killing much fish. This massive red tide is made up of the algae Heterosigma akashiwo, which can irritate human skin and eyes, does not appear to sicken marine mammals, but fish are suffering a massive die off.
Visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area's waterways have been plagued by a horrifying sight in recent days: dead fish piled up along beaches, some by the thousands on the shores of Oakland's Lake Merritt. The culprit is the largest algal bloom in the region's history, a murky soup the reddish-brown color of root beer. First spotted in July in the Oakland estuary, blobs of it have since spread across nearly the entire bay.
Local officials and scientists have yet to nail down how many fish have died, but the reports have been coming in nonstop since Friday. Aside from the carnage in Lake Merritt, dead sturgeon were spotted on a Point Richmond beach; 23 dead striped bass washed up near Coyote Point; 50 striped bass carcasses were found dead floating between the Dumbarton and Bay bridges; and the list goes on.
"It's a black swan kind of thing," said Ian Wren, a staff scientist with San Francisco Baykeeper, an environmental advocacy group monitoring the health of the bay. "We've never seen this before and even the models that have been developed didn't see this as being possible."