El Niño blamed for killing hundreds of sharks

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Dozens of leopard sharks died near the mouth of the Tijuana River. (Serge Dedina)

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. -- Fears of another fish die-off caused by a blockage of  the Tijuana River brought community leaders together Thursday night to devise a response plan.

Months back, freak waves generated by the El Niño weather pattern built up a sand bar, which caused polluted water from the Tijuana river to back up. Sharks, fish and rare sea snails were trapped in the  toxic water, and thousands of marine animals died.

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“We can’t let that happen again.

The entire ecosystem is too delicate,” said John Holder, an environmentalist from Wild Coast.

Government and non-profit groups have banded together in order to have a quick response to prevent the river mouth closing again.

“No one can predict the future of the Tijuana River Valley, but I think we are more ready then before.” said Holder.

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