Shark River Fish-Kill Clean-Up Underway - My9 New Jersey

Shark River Fish-Kill Clean-Up Underway

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Belmar, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Last week, workers at the Belmar Marina and along the shoreline have been scooping up tons of dead fish out of the Shark River and bringing them out by the wheelbarrow.

Eddie Markey has been on hand all week trying to clean up the fish-kill and he said the amount of fish that washed up is unbelievable.

“We started Monday and we were in the boats from the Marina and we were driving the boats in between the docks and yesterday we lifted about, I think thirty tons worth of fish,” he explained.

Fisherman John Cutrell says that most of the washed-up fish are mainly bunker, a small bait fish, but there are some other species of fish like flounder that are also finding their way into the mix.

“They use it for fertilizer and different things like that. They use them for striped bass fishing,” Cutrell confirmed.

The state D.E.P. says the problem was too many fish and not enough water. They breathe oxygen from the water and if there’s not enough then they suffocate. New algae growths are also believed to have played a part. The older guys around the marina, like Bob Matthews from the Belmar Marina Bait Shop, say they have never seen anything like it.

“I’ve been around here my whole life and I’ve seen bunker, lots of bunker, but not like this,” he said.

Unprecedented though it may be, it’s not necessarily a bad omen for the summer and Matthews says the water’s in pretty good shape.

There’s nothing wrong with the water it wasn’t like poison or anything in the water, it was the oxygen,” he confirmed.

Some fishermen also believe that a school of the bunker’s arch-enemy, the bluefish which eat bunker, possibly ran the bunkers up the river where they died.

The local towns were asking for volunteers to help discard of the dead fish before the smell got any worse.


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