October 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm #896MikeKeymaster
Dead fish in E. Rockaway puzzle experts
BY TARA CONRY
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Authorities are stumped as to why thousands of dead fish were
floating along the Bay Park Canal in East Rockaway yesterday.
“Quite a number of different species have been reported dead,” said
Byron Young, chief of marine fisheries at the state Department of
Young said his crew received a call Tuesday about the ailing marine
life and spent the evening testing the water along the Mills River,
which feeds the canal. During the summer, scorching temperatures and
rain shortages can trigger a fatal drop in the levels of dissolved
oxygen in the water, causing the fish to suffocate, Young said.
“This is not atypical,” said Young, who expected test results to
indicate that the Mills River was practically devoid of oxygen.
“We have temperatures of 86 degrees or higher, but the dissolved
oxygen was not as low as I anticipated,” he added.
By the following morning, residents awoke to find thousands of
lifeless fish – some as long as 2 feet – floating in the water.
“It was very sad,” said Susan Winters, who watched the fish float by
from the deck of the Fishery restaurant, where she works as a
bookkeeper. “It didn’t smell like fish, it smelled like oil.”
Other workers at the restaurant were concerned that an oil spillage
could be the cause, but experts refuse to abandon their original
“There’s no reason to suspect” a spill, said Rich Johnson, who
hosts “The Fishing Line,” on WLNY Television.
Having grown up along the South Shore, Johnson said, he is familiar
with natural fluctuations of the waterways and is confident that a
drop in temperature or a rainstorm will stabilize the ecosystem.
“It’s very stressful for anything to survive in water above 90
degrees,” he added.
Young said, “There’s nothing we can do to prevent the fish from
dying,” but said he will continue to work with local law enforcement
to document the problem.
Originally published on August 18, 2005
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