A mystery surrounding mass strandings of mackerel has deepened after hundreds of thousands of the dead fish were washed up – on a SECOND beach.
Pictures showing mackerel “as far as the eye could see” were taken at Marazion Beach in Cornwall after they washed up on Saturday night.
It comes just two weeks since a similar scene was discovered at Pentewan Beach at St Austell.
And stumped experts say the cause will remain a mystery and they have never seen anything like it.
Possible theories put forward were weather conditions, fisherman dumping their catches as they breached quote regulations, or they could have been fleeing a predator such as a whale.
Some locals also believe they could have been unwanted fish caught by trawlers – known as a bycatch.
But stunned Katrina Slack, 52, of St Ives, Cornwall, said she was astonished by what she saw before taking pictures of the latest spectacle.
“It was almost as if the waves were made up of thousands of shimmering fish.
“The closer I got I realised the beach was just covered in dead fish and more and more were coming in with every wave. It was a horrible but breathtaking scene.
“Luckily enough I had my snapshop camera so could capture some of the horror of it all.
“There were a few people on the beach and everyone was puzzled. It was puzzling as the gulls were not eating them.
“There was some talk of a fishing boat nearby and that this was the result of bycatch,
“I have no idea if this was true but if it is what a shameful practice.
“I returned on Sunday morning and the scene was the same but the gulls were now feeding just off the shore. In daylight it was clear that there were more than one species of fish among the bodies strewn on the beach but all were small in size.”
Local resident Shaun Plumb believed they may have been discarded by fishing fleets, which were not allowed to land them due to European quotas on species which can be brought back to shore and sold.
He added: “I think they were already dead when they washed up.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.
“It’s just dead fish as far as the eye can see.”
Simon Cadman, the principle enforcement officer for Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, said: “It is very rare. I can not recall an incident like this one before.
“On occasions we have got smaller number of fish but nothing like this I can remember.
“It is going to be impossible to be sure what happened. Whether it was fishing, weather, predators or a combination of them all, we will never know.
“It is an odd event and will remain a mystery.”