A massive shoal of herring found washed up on a Norwegian beach on New Years Eve has disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived.
Locals taking a New Year stroll on the beach at Kvaenes, near Tromsoe in northern Norway were shocked and amazed to see it covered in a silver carpet made up from the bodies of tens of thousands of herring (Clupea harengus) with an estimated weight of around 20 tonnes.
The strange tide has led to speculation as to what caused the mass stranding, with scientists suggesting factors such as predators driving the disorientated shoal ashore, or a powerful storm that hit the region on Christmas Day as the most likely culprits.
At the same time less rational sources have suggested it may be an early sign of the end of the world as predicted in the ancient Mayan calendar which states that 2012 will see the apocalypse.
Sadly we may never know the truth as before scientists could study the fish to try and ascertain what had caused their apocalyptic demise, the shoal disappeared, possibly abducted by aliens, although it seems more likely that they were swept back out to sea by the returning tide.
Either way it helped solve the locals' problem of what to do with 20 tonnes of rotting herring!
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