Thousands of dead fish wash up on beach - NBC40.net

Thousands of dead fish wash up on beach

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CAPE MAY POINT -

In Cape May Point, thousands of dead fish have washed up on the beaches and can be seen floating in the bay.

Jay Ihelhage is a tourist to Cape May County and said, "I've been on a lot of beaches never seen anything quite like this before."

If you've ever been to Cape May Point, there's a good chance you've never seen anything like this - thousands of dead bunker fish on the beach, and even more floating in the bay.

Charles Bloom owns The Grill at Sunset Beach and he says around 6 o'clock Thursday evening, thousands of the dead bunker fish, also known as Menhaden, started to float up in the surf next to his beach-front business. Bloom told NBC40, "What you see now, there were probably 10 times that last night! The way it is now, it's a health hazard. I mean you got a lot of little kids on the beach and they aren't always wary of what goes on - so yeah, I would love to see it cleaned up."

Officials with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection say that the dead fish along the beach don't pose any major environmental threat to the water, or to the area. Authorities expect the tide to wash the dead fish back out to sea.

However, as the day heated up on Friday, tourists like Greta Sarna told NBC40, “It definitely smells...like fish!" Gregory Genovese, a West Cape May resident, added, "It stinks pretty bad. Yeah if you notice, there are a lot of people down here on the beach and they're all on that side - and they’re on that side for a reason because this really stinks."

Officials with the NJDEP say although it has not been confirmed, it appears the fish spilled out from a broken fishing net and washed ashore.

Lawrence Hajna, Press Officer for NJDEP, said, "Fish and wildlife will be looking at this and will try to identify any boats that may have had a problem with their gear."

"I've never seen this before. I'm glad to hear it wasn't something worse, but hopefully they have it under control at this point," said Sarna.

Authorities with the NJDEP say there is no clean-up planned and the tide is expected to wash the dead bunker fish away.

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