The sardines had choked to death due to the lack of oxygen in the seawater. Image Credit: Twitter

Muscat: An algae outbreak has resulted in the death of thousands of sardines near the Coast Guard Port in Sidab area of the capital Muscat recently.

The sardines had choked to death due to the lack of oxygen in the seawater, according to experts from the Marine Science and Fisheries Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

After investigating the samples, it was found that the oxygen shortage was caused by the excessive growth of plankton, which is scientifically known as prorocentrum arcuatum, an expert from the centre said.

Oxygen levels had dropped sharply to 1.2 mg/l while it should be around 1.5mg/l and above.

Phytoplankton are the self-feeding components for the plankton and a key part of oceans, seas and freshwater basin ecosystem. Large Zooplanktons, fish, and mammals depend on these plankton for their survival.

Pictures of videos of the dead sardines went viral on social media platforms.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries along with the residents of Sidab village teamed up to clean the area before the smell of the dead fish spread. More than one hundred residents of Sidab depend on fish for their livelihoods.

Meanwhile, Royal Oman Police denied reports that the Coast Guard was responsible for the death of the sardines.

“We would like to clarify that the port project was undertaken after scientific studies conducted by international companies,” ROP said in a statement.

It added that the entrance of the port was widened to make sure that no harm was caused to marine life in the area.