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(10/P79) TRENTON * The Department of Environmental Protection is investigation a major wash-up of dead fish along the Delaware Bay in Cape May County. The cause of the die-off is not known and is under investigation.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring and the Bureau of Emergency Response are working with local officials to evaluate the wash-up of menhaden that appears to be encompassing a large stretch of the Delaware Bay shoreline. The fish appear to be exclusively small menhaden, also known as peanut bunker.
The Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring
reviewed results of water samples taken Wednesday by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and found no indication of toxic phytoplankton species, such as red tide. The DEP is also analyzing oxygen levels in the water.
The DEP has dispatched conservation officers who are working with the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management to evaluate the beaches. The DEP has sent out an aircraft to assess the extent of the die-off.
Initial reports suggest dead fish are heavy in an area of Middle Township known as Pierce's Point. The DEP will continue to provide updates to the media and the public as they become available.