There’ll be a big fish fry in Oakland, but not the good kind. The toxic algal bloom that has killed literally tons of fish in Bay Area waters is leading to Oakland Public Works incinerating the 1,200 pounds of dead fish that were floating in Lake Merritt.

The Dead Fish Wave of Summer 2022, believed to be caused by a “red tide” toxic algal bloom, has been spreading through waters all over the Bay Area since late July. Huge volumes of dead fish have been turning up at Coyote Point Marina in San Mateo, the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge near Fremont, but most famously, probably because of the amount of foot traffic there, at Oakland's Lake Merritt.

The heat wave kicking in is only expected to increase the algal bloom and the numbers of dead fish, but the City of Oakland has dutifully noted in a public post their “clean-up of the lake's shoreline, removing the dead wildlife to mitigate the odor and public nuisance ahead of forecasted hot weather.”

But the Chronicle adds a key detail about the dead fish clean-up operation. The paper reported late Wednesday afternoon that the fish will "be incinerated, according to city protocol." That's according to Sean Maher, public information officer for the city’s Public Works Department.

According to the City of Oakland’s announcement, “Contracted cleanup crews are scheduled to begin this work on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 31,” and that same announcement noted that the cleanup will continue Thursday. “Crews will wear protective gear in an abundance of caution. Community members are asked to watch for signage and work crews/vehicles to enable these crews to perform this work.”

The algal bloom has been brewing for months, but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board never expected things to get this bad. “Oakland officials posted warning signs in May after finding contaminants associated with a low level of harmful algae in the water, as well as water scum,” according to the Chronicle. “The water board performed additional testing on Aug. 22, but the results were not available as of Wednesday morning.”

But of course, people did not need those results to notice that dead fish have been floating on the lake’s surface since this past weekend.

Crews do expect to complete the cleanup today. The City of Oakland asks for help, advising that “property owners can avoid over-irrigation of landscapes (such as overwatering lawns) to prevent excess nutrients from entering waterways.” They also add that “we all need to continue working to keep Lake Merritt clean — littering, especially food and food containers, may contribute nutrients to the Lake that feed these harmful algal blooms.” But as seen in the above tweet, Lake Merritt-adjacent restaurant Lake Chalet took matters into their own hands and cleared out some dead fish themselves, because according to the Chronicle, the place is “losing customers due to the stench.”

The City of Oakland describes this as “the odor.” Oakland resident Marcus Wells instead describes it to the Chronicle as “hella stanky.”

Related: Fish Are Falling From the Sky In SF, and Clumsy Pelicans Are Likely to Blame [SFist]

Image: @Oakland via Twitter