North Carolina Officials say latest fish kill in Neuse River comes earlier than normal

North Carolina Officials say latest fish kill in Neuse River comes earlier than normal

May 23, 2019– Mary Greeley News – NEW BERN, Craven County, North Carolina — The Neuse River has begun to see active kills of fish. It’s a little early for this time of the year, officials say.

A fish kill is caused by a combination of warm water levels and low oxygen levels. This duo stresses fish and weakens their immune systems, making them susceptible to infection.

The fish which died in the Neuse River had red sores and lesions on their scales. Some even had small chunks of their bodies missing. Usually this is seen around August and September. But with this fish kill, it’s obviously much earlier. There already have been two reports in the Carolina Pines and Flanners Beach area.

“This year is a little bit different and I’m not sure why, cause Florence really did flush the system,” said Rick Dove of the River Keepers Alliance. “This is the earliest I’ve seen fish kills in a long long time.”

The infected fish have mostly been Menhaden as well as a variety of other species. Katie Hunt, the Sound Rivers Lower Neuse River Keeper, said the impact of Florence may have something to do with it. The Department of Environmental Quality is also currently testing the water and collected fish to determine the exact cause.

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“They’re also looking at things like temperature, dissolved oxygen, the nutrient contents in the water as well as the chlorophyll just to see how all these things are working together to create the right circumstances to lead to a fish kill like this one, Hunt said.

Hunt said Sound Rivers will conduct more tests throughout the week to get to the bottom of the issue.

Mary Greeley News

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