Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics
The magnitude of this die off surpasses even that of the legendary New Year’s Day 2013 snapper incident on Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand.
The menhaden, which travel in large schools, evidently swam into a small coastal creek in which they quickly depeleted the available oxygen. The fish then suffocated.
NCDENR officials speculate that the tendency of menhaden to form particularly dense schools when chased by predators may have contributed to the incident. However, Beel notes there were no reports of dead predatory fish- they also require oxygen.
Officials are publicizing the fish kill because they expect large numbers of people to frequent the beach this weekend. The fish do not pose a danger to humans, except for the odd Kiwi visitor on the look out for a free fish feed. Beel advises, don’t eat the dead fish!
“With the weekend going to be nice and people going to be on the beaches, they’re going to see dead fish,” warned Stephanie Garrett, NCDENR. Beel is going to be hoping Stephanie isn’t going to be thinking as poorly as she speaks.
Anyway, hundreds of thousands of dead fish on a beach? A warm weekend? Visitors are going to do more than see those fish warns Beel. Phew!