• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Thousands of dead fish wash up from Gulf of Nicoya

February 15, 2017

Disturbing images coming from Costa Rica’s Gulf of Nicoya showed thousands of dead sardines washed ashore near the coastal town of Manzanillo.

Preliminary online reports from various agencies including marine conservation group Fundación MarViva say that the washed-up hordes of fish were seen for a few kilometers.

dead fish nicoya
Thousands of dead sardines appeared on beaches across the Nicoya Peninsula Wednesday. (Courtesy of Vanessa Masís/Facebook)

According to a Facebook post from MarViva, it seems only to be a sardine species that suffered the widespread deaths. However, no exact cause for the incident is yet known.

The report said it is unlikely that the phenomenon was caused by chemical poisoning or that it has anything to do with warmer water temperatures in the Gulf of Nicoya, since a single species appears to have been affected.

The following video posted to Twitter by Coast Guard officials shows the sheer scale of fish left dead on the surrounding beach:

“It’s possible that this is related to the eating habits of the sardines,” the MarViva announcement read. “Since they are herbivores, a mass mortality of this type could have something to do with the consumption of a toxic phytoplankton or algae that may have become more prevalent in the Gulf.”

Coast Guards and marine biologists arrived quickly on the scene to analyze the strange incident and take samples for researchers at the National University, a press release from the Public Security Ministry noted. The officials scanned the 2.05-kilometer expanse in Manzanillo where the dead fish were seen on land and floating in water just above the Abangaritos River.

MarViva’s announcement further recommended that people in the region refrain from eating sardines for the time being.

Recent appearances of dead fish in other parts of Latin America, such as Chile, have similarly puzzled marine biology experts. Two weeks ago, a 20-meter-long blue whale washed up on the beach in Costa Rica’s Santa Rosa National Park in Guanacaste.

You may be interested

How 6 Exotic Animals in Costa Rica Got Their Names
Environment and Wildlife
6369 views
Environment and Wildlife
6369 views

How 6 Exotic Animals in Costa Rica Got Their Names

The Tico Times - March 7, 2021

When it comes to pointing out animals, some people in Costa Rican can be extremely unspecific. Sometimes it seems that…

Slothy Sunday: Restrictions are lifted, now what? See sloths, what else!
Sloth Sundays
2562 views
Sloth Sundays
2562 views

Slothy Sunday: Restrictions are lifted, now what? See sloths, what else!

Mariana Diaz / Toucan Rescue Ranch - March 7, 2021

This is officially the first week we are all allowed to drive again on both days of the weekend, how…

Sloths in Costa Rica: 11 Little Known Facts
Costa Rica wildlife
15424 views
Costa Rica wildlife
15424 views

Sloths in Costa Rica: 11 Little Known Facts

The Tico Times - March 7, 2021

Since they were first described by naturalists in the 1700s, sloths have been misunderstood. Early scientists described the slow-moving beasts…