Millions of Dead Anchovies Wash Ashore in Oregon Coast Town

dead anchovies

credit: KPTV

Seaside, OR (KPTV)  — Brace yourself, Seaside. It’s about to get smelly.

Millions of dead anchovies washed ashore along the Necanicum River in downtown Seaside on Monday.

The anchovies entered the river en masse from the Pacific Ocean.

Unfortunately for the fish, there was only so much oxygen to go around.

“There’s just so many fish in this little tiny river that they deplete the oxygen and some of them start to die,” said Tiffany Boothe, of the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

The unusually large anchovy run started to line the river after high tide Monday night.

“I saw thousands of fish and I thought, ‘That’s sad. What’s happened?'” said Penny Russell, who was visiting the coast from Portland. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

For Oregon Coast tourists, it made for a unique sight. For birds, it made for a feeding frenzy.

“The birds love it. It makes for great birdwatching. We’ve got tons of pelicans in the area now,” Boothe said. “It’s a really healthy thing for the birds.”

Large anchovy die-offs are “a naturally occurring thing,” Boothe said, but it doesn’t happen every year in Seaside.

“It’s going to smell for a couple days probably while these guys make their way back out to the ocean,” she said.