Thousands of tuna crabs wash ashore along beaches in Monterey – El Nino growing stronger

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Thousands of tuna crabs recently started washing ashore by the thousands along the beaches near Monterey.

The problem is that tuna crabs are rarely seen this far north, the water is usually too cold.

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Dead red crabs on the shore of Pacific Grove. Photo by Kate Cummings

There is growing evidence that the El Nino forming along the equator in the Pacific is getting stronger.

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The shores at Monterey are now blood red. Photo by Kande Williston/Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Little red crabs which normally live in warmer waters farther south near the Baja Peninsula, color in red the beaches near Monterey.

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There’s been a huge swarm of pelagic red crabs aka tuna crabs washing up since yesterday. These crabs chill on the benthos before getting all caught up in the season’s current trend. This year, El Niño invited them further north. Photo by Patrick Anders Webster

In late spring and early summer, similar strandings occurred in Southern California, primarily in San Diego and Orange counties.

At this point, no one knows for sure how long the tuna crabs will be here. But one thing is sure, the red pelagic crabs shouldn’t be there. Last time such an event occurred in Monterey was in the 1980’s.

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