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Tons of dead fish have washed up off the coast of Hakodate in Japan. The fish is mainly sardines and mackerel.

Takashi Fujioka, a researcher at the Hakodate Fisheries Research Institute, believes the fish either died of lack of oxygen or entered cold waters during migration.

The dead fish covered the beach about a kilometer long.

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Locals said they had never seen anything like it. Authorities are advising people not to eat the fish. However, on the shore residents of Hakodate gathered it to sell it, BTV reported.

The exact cause of the tons of dead fish is not yet clear.

According to Fujioka, the fish may have become exhausted while being chased by larger fish. He said a lack of oxygen while moving in a dense group could lead to them being thrown ashore.

The incident coincided with the migration of sardines to the south.

At the same time, decaying fish can lower oxygen levels in the water and affect the marine environment.

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