Dead Fish Piling Up On Shore Along Shark River - FOX 35 News Orlando

Dead Fish Piling Up On Shore Along Shark River

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Belmar, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Tens of thousands of bunker fish have gone belly up in Shark River down in the Belmar area of the Jersey Shore. This incident is causing residents to gawk and speculate as to why this happened and some, like Neptune resident Rich Horner, say they find the massive fish kill disturbing.

“We kayak in here, we paddle board, we use this and it seems like the river is kind of dying,” he said.

Multiple residents believe the state is somehow to blame for not dredging debris out of the shallow Shark River for decades and even after Superstorm Sandy. The Mayor of Belmar, Matt Doherty, says he believes this is about too many fish and too little oxygen to go around.

“It hasn’t been dredged in decades and after Sandy particularly there’s so much sediment that’s back here that it needs to be removed. One theory is that because it’s so shallow it limits how much oxygen there is to begin with so when you add to that more fish coming in, it depletes the oxygen sources and you see a fish kill like we had today,” Mayor Doherty explained.

Professional bait-men say the timing of the fish kill is due to the warm weather. They say the drastic shoot up in temperatures over the weekend caused an algae bloom that attracted the large school of bunker fish to come through the River, where there’s too much sediment and not enough oxygen. They also say that these dead fish aren’t poisonous. In fact, they’re collecting them off the beach and selling them as bait for up to $2.00 per fish.

Meanwhile, the local Department of Public Works employees are cleaning the dead fish up, but the Mayor Doherty says more and more keep washing up on the shore as the tide comes in.

This fish kill could go on for a few days, and it is going to start to smell really bad. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection suggests that the fish kill was a result of natural occurrences that created an algae bloom resulting in the decline of oxygen in the water.


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