U.S. News


Thousands Of Fish Mysteriously Found Dead In New Jersey

Health officials are trying to figure out how thousands of fish died in New Jersey's Shark River. The likely cause is oxygen depletion.
Posted at 8:52 AM, May 13, 2014

It's an alarming find. Tens of thousands of fish have mysteriously died in New Jersey's Shark River.

Take a look at this. These are dead bunker fish. Some are floating like you see here, others were washed up on shore near the docks in Belmar. (Via Shore Area News Dispatch)

"They were on top of the water, they were under the water. It was terrible." (Via WCBS)

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty tells the Asbury Park Press the whole situation is "highly unusual."

Health officials say the massive death count was likely caused by an oxygen depletion — and may have even come from the fish themselves. Bunker fish typically reproduce in very large numbers, and use a lot of oxygen to do so.

Local fishermen aren't happy. WNBC reports there is concern the fishing industry might suffer this season. These bunker fish were the main source of food for striped bass. 

"If they're not here for the other fish to eat it just ruins the whole ecosystem."

"I just hope they do something good to clean this up, because I want to go fishing."

And could you imagine the stench caused from thousands of dead fish? Yea, that could be a problem in a few days.

"After a while they are going to start decaying, the belly is going to blow up and they're going to come to the surface and then it's going to be a stink fest down here." (Via WCBS)

Crews have been working to remove as many of the fish as possible. Health officials are still testing the fish to determine an exact cause for their deaths.