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Dead fish 'as far as the eye can see' (PHOTOS)

Wednesday 5 Jan 2011 8:04 a.m.

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Watch David Farrier's 6 News story on an odd week of animal mysteries

Holidaymakers in the Coromandel Peninsula have been horrified by hundreds of dead fish washing up on beaches. 

Charlotte Pearsall says since yesterday, dead fish have been turning up at Little Bay and Waikawau Bay.

“There are dead fish as far as the eye can see," she says.

“When we spoke to the boaties and kayakers they told us that there was a carpet of floating fish further out to sea all along the coast.”

Ms Pearsall and her family have lived in the area for about 31 years and are shocked by what they found at the beach.

“I have never ever in my whole life witnessed anything like this. None of us have.”

Auckland resident James Hughes spotted the snapper floating close to shore after children rushed up to him and his friends holding some of the dead fish.

Mr Hughes and others on the beach walked towards the spot where the fish had washed up, and discovered dead fish in the water.

"We spoke to boaties coming in and they said there was a carpet of them floating in the water."

A Department of Conservation official told Mr Hughes fish in the Coromandel area were starving because of weather conditions.

"That's just completely untrue. This was something deliberate and it's just wrong," Mr Hughes said.

Fisheries officials said the fish would be unsafe to eat and the mystery was being investigated.

It would be illegal to deliberately dump snapper, but there could be a innocent explanation, such as a net splitting, a spokesman said.

“All in all a sad day at the beach as the children ran up and down  picking up large numbers of dead fish questioning what on earth was going on,” says Ms Pearsall.

3 News / NZPA

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