Santa Cruz County

Anchovy die-off at Santa Cruz Harbor effects nearby businesses

Santa Cruz harbor re-opens, dead anchovy smell lingers

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Launch ramps are open to boaters again in the Santa Cruz Harbor following a big clean-up effort this weekend. Volunteers scooped out about 30 tons of anchovies, but the stench of the leftovers still lingers/

"There is an odor with these decaying anchovies that does keep people away," said John Mootz, co-owner of Aldo's Restaurant.

Aldo's sits right on the water at the harbor mouth and Mootz said the smell of dead fish is starting to fade away, but not fast enough.

"The smell has definitely subsided," Mootz said.  "Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were probably the worst days."

Since the anchovy die-off, business has been down about 5 to 10 percent in the peak of the tourist season. Mootz thinks more publicity is to blame.

"It's still the summer. We would expect a little more business right now," said Mootz.

But Mootz told us it's just part of operating a restaurant on the water.

"It's tough to be by the water. Sometimes you have natural disasters that come through. Mother nature is doing its thing," said Mootz.

Local sport fishermen agree.

"It's one of those things I think you get used to. I wouldn't want to live here full time," said fisherman Daniel Finkel.

Harbor launch ramps are still closed to paddle boarders, or swimmers. Right now the only thing left in the water in the harbor is a residue left over from the decomposing fish.

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