ENCINITAS (NEWS 8) — North County residents and visitors are reporting large piles of decomposing kelp on beaches in Solana and Encinitas. The kelp is also reportedly attracting unwanted guests: swarms of flies and other animals.
From Swami's to Solana Beach, there's a stench washing up and down our North County beaches... and it's making quite the impression.
“It's sunny and nice but a little smelly over here,” said one beach-goer.
It turns out the smell is coming from kelp. It rots quickly out of the water and thus gives off a pungent scent.
But why is it washing up in the first place? At Swami's there's one common theory amongst the surfers:
"You know, the water is really warm and the kelp dies off,” said one wave-rider.
But it turns out the heat isn't to blame.
“The kelp we have had recently washing up on the shore is due to a swell event a month ago,” said Dr. Ed Parnell.
According to Parnell, a research oceanographer, those events ripped up the kelp which was brought to the beach by currents and the tide.
Something that will continue to happen until it's all gone.
"It's basically this cycle of increasingly rotten kelp washing along the shoreline until it finally dissipates,” said Dr. Parnell.
However, he says there are some benefits to the ecosystem.
“It feeds a lot of animals that are in the beach, things like kelp flies and anthropoids,” said Parnell.
So, the rotting kelp isn’t just a nuisance to our nose and eyes, it could also teach us a little about life in the ocean.