Giant school of anchovy catching everyone's eye - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Giant school of anchovy catching everyone's eye

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Photo courtesy Chopper 8 pilot Phil Konstantin. Photo courtesy Chopper 8 pilot Phil Konstantin.
Photo courtesy Chopper 8 pilot Phil Konstantin. Photo courtesy Chopper 8 pilot Phil Konstantin.
Photo courtesy Chopper 8 pilot Phil Konstantin. Photo courtesy Chopper 8 pilot Phil Konstantin.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – The sight was amazing, and a little spooky.

A massive school of anchovy turned the water black just off the coast of La Jolla this week. Ocean experts say it's rare to see so many anchovy so close to our coast.

"Multimillions" of the finger-sized fishes prized on pizzas and in animal feed -- also called Northern anchovy -- created a dark-blue band in shallow waters just off the coast when first spotted Monday.

Scripps scientists say they haven't seen such an aggregation in more than 30 years, but were unclear why the large school moved into shallow waters off the coast.

Phil Hastings, a marine biology professor and curator of the marine vertebrate collection at the UC San Diego-connected Scripps, said he doubted the mystery of their appearance will be solved.

"I don't think we'll be able to ferret it out," he said. But for history's sake, Scripps has collected specimens for preservation.

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