Locals at Ocean Park on Wednesday were simply looking to get some fresh air and exercise out on the beach, but little did they know what would be waiting for them on the shoreline — a countless number of dead sea life washed up on shore and people want to know why.
"It is devastating. It is very, very sad to see these coming up here to breathe and they can't even breathe," said a local who was out walking at Ocean Park on Wednesday.
"It is a lot of dead fish. A lot of dead fish everywhere," added Lompoc resident Shianne Wallace.
On Wednesday, some local students were on a field trip at Ocean Park when they came across the scene.
"We are here with Lompoc High School AP Environmental Science class," said Julia Aragon. "We are here to learn about invasive species along the beach."
Aragon says she and her classmates had no idea they would be encountering the dead sea creatures as part of their excursion from school.
"I thought it was a little freaky because there is just so much fish and the smell is so strong, so it is kind of really shocking," she added.
In spite of the bounty of fish on shore, the Environmental Health Services team with the County of Santa Barbara says their water testing site nearest to Ocean Park has not found any elevated bacteria or human pathogens.
As for the cause of this occurrence, locals have been left speculating.
"I was a little sad about it. I am a little more confused. I don't really know how it works or what happened," Wallace added.
KSBY News reached out to the South Coast Region for California's Department of Fish and Wildlife, and they said a member of their team would be coming out to Ocean Park to investigate. They say it is too soon for them to determine a cause at this time.