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NJ Officials Look for Cause of Delaware Bay Fish Kill

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New Jersey environmental officials are looking into yesterday’s massive fish kill along the Delaware Bay in Cape May County, NJ.


KYW’s David Madden reports that no one is yet quite sure why tens of thousands of fish washed ashore along a more-than-seven-mile stretch of beach in Middle and Lower Townships, mostly at High’s Beach and Pierce’s Point (see previous story).

fishkill cu1 NJ Officials Look for Cause of Delaware Bay Fish Kill
Lawrence Hajna is with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection:

“It appears to be almost exclusively a fish called menhaden or ‘peanut bunker.’  The fish are about 3½ to four inches in length typically.”

Initial testing shows no sign of so-called “red tide” (a reddish-brown bloom of toxic algae), and oxygen levels in the water were at acceptable levels — although Hajna notes that it appears the kill occurred at night, when oxygen levels might be lower.

Additional tests are being conducted, and the state is assisting in disposing of the dead fish.

Hajna says that while fishing or swimming in the area are not restricted, you might not want to hit the beach right now, given the stench in the air:

“The Delaware Bay beaches are not generally swimming beaches anyway. But the fish out there are pretty messy, so it wouldn’t be a good idea.”

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