Walkers found 'hundreds of thousands' of dead whitebait in the tidal pool at Devil's Point
Bebused walkers found "hundreds of thousands" of whitebait fish trapped in a tidal pool near Devil's Point yesterday.

It is the second time a shoal has been trapped in the same pool in less than two weeks.

Peter Wilkes and his fiance Carla Hosking were out enjoying a Sunday morning stroll with their 20-month-old son James when they thought they saw the pool at Firestone Bay looking as if it had "iced over".

On closer inspection, they found that it was the reflection of thousands of dead small dead fish which had become trapped in the shallow water.

"We saw the pond and it looked almost iced-over," said train-station worker Mr Wilkes.

"A lot of people were taking photos and we went down to take a closer look.

"There were little girls trying to push the fish back into the tidal pool to keep them alive.

"There were hundreds of thousands of whitebait. I would say about 90 per cent of them were dead.

"Some were still flapping about on the concrete or swimming about over the dead ones lying at the bottom of the pool.

"I don't think the others will survive very long.

"A lot of people were saying the fish might have run out of oxygen.
"We did notice there was a froth around a lot of the fish. I don't know if that came off their scales."


Dead whitebait caught in the tidal pool at Devil's Point
Guy Baker, communications officer for the Marine Biological Association, said sand eels had been known to be caught in the tidal pool.

He said this was the season for mackerel to be hunting small fish and could have chased them into the shallow waters.

Spring tides are also bigger at this time of year, so the fish may have simply been caught out when the tide was going out, explained Mr Baker.

Mr Wilkes, 29, said there was a dead mackerel amongst the fish adding credence to the theory that they were fleeing predators.

Miss Hosking, 24, said the sight was "strange" and attracted many people congregated outside the nearby Devil's Point Cafe to go down and see it for themselves.

It looked like the fish would not go to waste, however.

"There was one dog eating the fish and People were talking about getting local fisherman to come down and collect the fish for bait," added Mr Wilkes.