Another fish kill: Hundreds wash up in Forked River
FORKED RIVER — There yet another fish kill on the Jersey Shore, the first one since Hermine affected the state.
But officials say the matter is still very normal.
About 500 peanut bunker washed up in a lagoon in Stouts Creek near Raleigh Drive in the Forked River section of Lacey Township, according to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna. He said another 100 were coming up slowly to the surface in the same general area.
"They get caught up in these little coves and lagoons and they run out of oxygen, but its a smaller group of them," Hajna said.
He said the conditions that created large fish die-offs in Keyport, Keansburg and the Great Bay off Ocean County are still present. Thiousands of fish washed up on beaches and creeks in those areas earlier in August.
"Water temperatures are very warm and its not surprising to see additional fish kills. There's record number of Atlantic menhadenins the coastal waters of New Jersey, and this is part of a natural process where they are being chased by predators, end up against a wall in very shallow waters, get trapped and become food for bigger fish."
Paul Bologna, director of Montclair State University’s Marine Biology and Coastal Sciences Program, said the recent churning up of the Atlantic Ocean by several tropical disturbances including Hermine overall had very little impact.
"It might have stirred up some cooler water which may help with oxygen. But it was pretty far offshore so I don't think it had much of an impact," Bologna said.
Hajna said the peanut bunker spend the first year of their life in the bays. "What we may be seeing is probably the blue fish and stripers and whatever coming in to feast."