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Suspicious Oil in Monterey Harbor Turns Out to Be Fishy

By Cassandra Arsenault, Reporter, CassandraArsenault@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Feb 12 2014 09:07:44 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 12 2014 11:19:08 PM CST

Fishy Oil Spill in Monterey Harbor

MONTEREY, Calif. -

An early-morning call Wednesday for an oil spill in the Monterey Harbor had crews rushing to the scene, but what they found when they got there was a little fishy.

The substance they found was 300 yards of an oil, that turned out to be anchovy oil. When it comes to an oil spill in the federally-protected marine sanctuary, cleanup crews take every call seriously.

From sea otters to sea lions, fire crews and the Coast Guard want to protect these marine mammals. They work hard to make sure all hands are on deck when an emergency call comes in. That was the case Wednesday when they heard about a potential oil spill.

"They found a sheen that actually spread out over 300 yards and we didn't know if it was gasoline or hydraulic fluid or the alike," said Division Chief Stewart Roth of the Monterey Fire Department.

Roth says any oil like anchovy oil slicked over the water can look like a hazardous oil spill, and they have an emergency action plan just in case it is.

"We activated our unified command and brought in the Coast Guard, the Harbor Master, and we launched our fire boat to start doing an investigation of the area." said Henderson.

During the investigation, they test the water for any traces of harmful substances.

"The absorbent pads weren't picking up the petroleum product or gasoline, which means it's some other type of potentially organic product," said Roth.

In this case, oil from the tiny anchovy fish. Even though the marine life is highly regarded in the Monterey Bay, small oil spills have happened before.

"We do these type of incidents quite a few times a year in a fishing area like this," said Roth.