Investigators are puzzled after thousands of langoustines were washed ashore in Chile’s Coronel city, about 530km (330 miles) from the capital, Santiago. There are so many dead creatures that the beach has been colored red.
Fishermen have blamed local power stations that use seawater as a cooling agent. These firms have not commented. Experts are looking into this. Others are blaming population levels.
“We’re going to be collecting as much evidence as possible to determine if this is an environmental crime,” Ana Maria Aldana, prosecutor for environmental offenses, told the media.
“I’m 69 years old and started fishing when I was nine, but as a fisherman, I never saw a disaster of this magnitude,” explained one local.
In recent years there have been more strange events on South American beaches. In February the bodies of dozens of animals, including sea lions, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, and marine birds, were washed up on a Peruvian coast.
Experts have offered offshore oil exploration, viruses, and poisoned food sources for explanations.