Fish kill discovered in Shore river

     Dead fish floating along a bulkhead along the Navesink River in Red Bank. (Photo courtesy of NJDEP)

    Dead fish floating along a bulkhead along the Navesink River in Red Bank. (Photo courtesy of NJDEP)

    Officials say a fish kill has impacted a Monmouth County river.

    Scattered fish were recently discovered floating near Red Bank’s Marine Park, a popular destination for strolling along the Navesink River, said Larry Hajna, a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman.

    “This appears to be relatively isolated,” he said, adding that there are “some scattered fish floating in the area, except for small clusters of dead fish pushed by the wind against bulkheads.”

    The fish, identified as menhaden, or peanut bunker, range in size from three to five inches, according to the spokesman.

    “This appears to be the typical bunker mortality that occurs when school get pushed up river by predator fish into shallow, confined water that has low salinity and low oxygen,” Hajna said.

    The Monmouth County Health Department noted the dead fish late Tuesday morning while conducting routine algae sampling. While the NJDEP responded, Hajna said, the fish are not recoverable and will become part of the nutrient cycle in the river.

    There have been multiple fish kills in New Jersey due to various reasons in the last decade.

    The latest incident was in August 2016 when a peanut bunker fish kill was discovered in the Raritan Bay and its tributaries. Officials said the likely cause was low dissolved oxygen.

    In January 2015, more than 5,000 fish died in a discharge canal at the the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Lacey Township.

    At the time, state officials said the bunker were possibly drawn to canal’s warm water or were chased by a predator.

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