Mystery as millions of shellfish wash up on Waihi beach in New Zealand

Millions of dead shellfish that washed ashore at Waihi Beach, Hew Zealand, have shocked local residents.

The cause of this mass shellfish die-off remains unknown…

Local residents were shocked when they encountered “millions” of dead shellfish washed ashore on the northern end of Waihi Beach on Tuesday.

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The cause of mass shellfish die-off remains unknown in New Zealand. via NZ Herald

Most of the dead shellfish that washed ashore at Waihi Beach this week have now been washed away by the ocean.

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Jeannette McCallum is walking over millions of dead shellfish that washed ashore at Waihi Beach in New Zealand on March 14, 2017. Picture by George Novak via NZ Herald

But they had begun to smell “horrible” while they were there.

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Some of the dead tuatua, (not pipi) shellfish. Picture by George Novak via NZ Herald

Samples from dead tuatua shellfish have been collected for disease as well as toxin testing, but officials say the cause of the mass death was unlikely to be known before next week.

Officials point to flooding with freshwater as the most likely cause of the event, but likely a number of different factors contributed to the die-off – higher water temperatures, large swells, overcrowding.

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