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El Nino-Warmed Water Attracting Unusual Mix of Fish to Bay Area

September 04, 1997|From Times staff and wire reports

Water temperatures off the Golden Gate Bridge have hit record highs thanks to El Nino, attracting an exotic mix of tropical fish rarely seen in the region, biologists said. Mahi mahi, swordfish, albacore, marlin, sardines and various tropical fish have made their way north as El Nino, a massive influx of warm water from the equatorial Pacific, heats California coastal waters.

The ocean off Northern California--normally as cold as 50 degrees this time of year--is now a tepid 67, according to Michelle Hester, a biologist with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, which researches birds and marine mammals at the Farallon Islands. "The surface water temperature off the Farallons is the warmest we've seen since we began keeping records in 1958," she said.

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