Marine scientists believe that dense red tide blooms off the coast of the Cape Peninsula are stripping the ocean of its oxygen content and driving massive shoals of sardines onshore. Residents of the coastal suburbs of Hout Bay and Kommetjie benefitted over the weekend, descending on the beach to collect millions of the shimmering little fish. Although the currently prevalent red tides are believed to be non-toxic, they comprise billions of particularly spiky algae and the scientists are also investigating if these organisms are adding to the sardines distress by clogging their gills. The red tides have been present around the Cape Peninsula for several weeks, and are believed to have been responsible for sardines clogging the water intake pipes at the Koeberg nuclear power station early in November. There were sporadic reports yesterday of mature Yellowtail and Kabeljou washing ashore from Muizenberg to Hout Bay.