THOUSANDS of fish washed up on Blackpool Sands this week, leaving beachgoers smelling something fishy.

The small fish, mainly whitebait and herring, lined the entire shoreline of the popular South Devon beach.

(Julian Barnes)

Although many worried the mass death of the fish was linked to pollution, an issue that has been pressing Devon recently, a coastguard at the beach that day explained that it was actually part of a hunting strategy by predatory mackerel.

(Julian Barnes)

What the mackerel were doing is pushing the bait fish towards the shore, trapping them in the shallow waters of the beach.

(Julian Barnes)

A feeding frenzy followed with the mackerel attacking the bait fish from below while sea bird flocked in to feed from above. Many of the small fish decided to beach themselves to escape the chaos.

(Julian Barnes)

What was left was hundreds of birds and mackerel getting an easy lunch, while beachgoers were left trying to avoid the thousands of fish littered across the beach. Many also complained of a strong fishy smell.

Similarly, a sea pool was inundated with small fish in Westwood Ho! last week they were chased in by a predator such as a shoal of mackerel, Torridge Council said.

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