THOUSANDS of small fish have washed up along the shoreline at Chesil Beach.

Stretching ‘at least a kilometre’ thousands of tiny fish were captured lying on the beach on video by the Weymouth & Portland marine litter project around 9am yesterday.

Team members at the project were out on a litter pick when they came across the fish at Ferrybridge, Wyke Regis.

The tiny fish were also spotted by Will Salter, 30, who was out paddleboarding on Thursday afternoon.

The personal trainer said: “I was just thinking what the hell? What is going on here?

“I could not believe what I was looking at. It was like something you see on TV, shocking to see.”

Mr Salter said initially he saw ‘lots of shimmering’ along the shoreline and got off his paddleboard to have a closer look.

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He said: “When I got over I saw it was just fish. There was also what looked like thousands of fish in the water too just next to the shoreline.”

Mr Salter was left speechless and said he initially tried to put some back, but there was just so many of them lining the beach

He added: “It’s not usually what you see in Weymouth.”

However, the reason behind the fish washed up on the beach may not be as sinister as it appears.

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Sarah Hodgson, coastal centres assistant at the Dorset Wildlife Trust, said it is ‘most likely’ a natural cause upon viewing the imagery.

“They look like bait fish and what’s most likely happened is a larger predator was chasing them to shore and left them with nowhere to go.”

Bait fish get their name from being small fish which are used as bait to attract larger marine life.

Ms Hodgson confirmed that while the sight may look unusual she has come across it before and said it is ‘likely’ to be entirely natural.

Marine expert Steve Trewhella also agreed that it was nature's doing.

He said: "It's quite common this time of the year for bait fish such as sprats, herring and so on, loosely called whitebait, to often get chased into the shallows by larger fish such as mackerel and bass. Many often strand as a result."

Similar scenes were spotted on a beach in Eastbourne last month in which a Environment Agency spokesperson said it was concluded that their fisheries team ‘believe that it was caused by mackerel herding whitebait for food’.

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