Mystery of the DEAD herring: What made 20 TONNES of fish wash up on Norwegian beach?
Thousands of dead herring have been discovered washed up on a north Norwegian beach - prompting Doomsday predictors to hail it as another sign the world is set to end.
More than 20 tonnes of the fish is currently carpeting the beach of Kvaenes, in Nordreisa, with experts views differing on how they have come to be there. One thing is for sure, it will provide welcome ammunition to those believing the Mayan prophecy that 2012 will bring the end of Earth.
Jan-Petter Jorgensen, 44, was walking with his dog Molly when he found the stinky haul.
Washed up: Molly the dog seen walking around the tonnes of dead herring that have mysteriously appeared on a beach at Kvaenes in Nordreisa, northern Norway
He said: 'People say that something similar happened in the 80s. Maybe the fish have been caught in a deprived oxygen environment, and then died of fresh water?'
Experts have said the school could have been trapped by tidal waters after predatory fish - such as coalfish - chased them towards the shoreline.
Another theory is that the fish were washed ashore during a recent storm, or trapped in shallow waters and affected by freshwater from a river that flows into the bay.
Jens Christian Holst, of the Institute of Marine Research, said several factors could have come together at once. And he said he hoped they would be able to conduct tests on the dead fish to see if they had died of a disease.
The incident in Norway is not the only mass death mystery over the New Year.
On Sunday, 200 blackbirds mysteriously fell from the sky in a small Arkansas town - although officials now believe the birds were targeted by someone with fireworks, experts say.
Mystery death: One of the hundreds of blackbirds that fell out of the sky on New Year's Eve in Arkansas
Last month 25 dead horses were discovered at the bottom of a cliff near Glenn Innes, New England.
And similarly bizarre and unexplained massacres took place on the opening days of last year, with millions of spot fish washing up in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, more blackbirds dying in Arkansas, and masses of marine life dying in a Louisiana bayou.