Hundreds of dead squid found on P.E.I. puzzle beachgoers

On Friday, Leisa Boudreau and several others found hundreds, or what they say could even be thousands, of dead squid scattered across MacCallum's Point beach.

'I’ve never seen anything like this in my life'

'You just want to know what caused this,' says Leisa Boudreau. (Submitted by Leisa Boudreau)

It was by far the most bizarre thing Leisa Boudreau had ever seen on a P.E.I. beach.

On Friday, she and several others found hundreds of dead squid scattered across MacCallum's Point beach.

"I was rather shocked by it," Boudreau said.

She walked up and down the beach, which is near Bedeque and Summerside, with friends and a group of people from Nova Scotia and found that there were lifeless squid as far as the eye could see.

Half a kilometre down the beach was just the same, more and more dead squid. (Submitted by Leisa Boudreau)

"They were in between the rocks, dead, laying all up along. There was two very long trails of seaweed and they were mixed in those," she said.

"It's hard to explain the scale of it, it was spread out so far."

Half a kilometre down the beach, the scene was just the same.

'The whole beach is littered with them'

Boudreau, who said she's never seen a squid on a beach in her life, called the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to report her findings, but her call went to voicemail.

Reached by CBC on Saturday, DFO said it could not give an explanation on what was occurring on P.E.I. but would be looking into it early next week.

Boudreau and her group estimate the number of dead squid could actually be in the thousands.

"I would easily say a couple thousand from what I saw," she said.

"You just want to know what caused this. There was a lot of speculation but we don't actually know ... I've never seen anything like this in my life."

'The whole beach is littered with them,' Cathy Melancon says. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Cathy Melancon, who's visiting from Montreal but calls P.E.I. her second home, was at the beach on Saturday and couldn't believe it either.

"The whole beach is littered with them," she said.

"I've been coming here a long time, like over 20 years. It's our little private spot and it's the first time ever that I've seen this."

More dead squid found in Brudenell

MacCallum's Point isn't the only spot on P.E.I. that's had dead squid scattered across the sand recently.

Greg Randall, from Waverley, N.S., was visiting the Island and spent a week in Brudenell. At a beach there, he found dozens more squid tucked in pockets across the shore.

"You'd see a dozen or 15 in one spot, and a dozen or 15 in another spot," he said.

"There had to be 50 to 100."

'I don't ever remember in my lifetime seeing dead squid on a beach,' Greg Randall says of the squid found in Brudenell. (Submitted by Greg Randall)

Being an occasional squid fisher himself, this really puzzled him.

"I was really shocked to see dead ones on the beach," he said. "I don't ever remember in my lifetime seeing dead squid on a beach."

Being from Nova Scotia, Randall also heard of the hundreds that were washing ashore in areas across the province and when he saw it on P.E.I., it was even more strange.

"I was trying to think to myself 'why are squid coming up dead on the beaches in the Maritimes?'" he said. "I have absolutely no idea but I've never heard of it before."

Experts previously have told CBC News in Nova Scotia that although it's unusual to see such mass die-offs, the deaths are part of the creatures' "live fast and die young" reproductive cycle.

Normally when squid die, they end up somewhere on the bottom of the ocean or drift along with the bottom current. 

However, the squid might find themselves in a cove at high tide, and when the tide goes out, they then get stuck in shallow water.

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With files from Sarah MacMillan