Thousands of anchovies won't end up on your pizzas, and all because they were trying to get away from some bullies. Maybe.

That's the hypothesis of officials at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife today. The fish, possibly scared by predators, were backed into the shallow, warm marina over the weekend and then faced a lack of oxygen because there were so many of them that needed it, said Fish and Wildlife's Janice Mackey.

She told us that officials were …
 … “98 percent sure” that they died a result of an oxygen shortage in that water.

But, just in case, lab tests were being conducted on some of the fish to make sure, Mackey said. Results should be available in a few weeks, she said.

An aerial survey of the coast last week revealed a “large anchovy school outside surf area,” Mackey said: “We suspect they were part of the same one.”

Yesterday crews from the L.A. Department of Beaches and Harbors cleaned up the dead fish, putting them in 300 bags that ended up weighing 45 pounds each, Mackey said.

“Birds were helping out too,” she said.

Fish and Wildlife officials have seen other “fish die-offs” at California marinas and harbors, usually as a result of oxygen depletion in these relatively warmer, more-confined spaces.

“It's not considered too unusual,” Mackey said.

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