Hundreds of thousands of dead fish were spotted floating in the waterways in New Jersey this week.
Officials said that the scores of dead bunker fish that were spotted on the surface of local waterways around the Raritan Bay in West Keansburg Tuesday were victims of a fish kill.
Department of Environmental Protection officials said the fish were likely chased into the bay by bluefish or skates, and once there the fish were killed off by low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.
Fish were found in Natco Lake, Thornes Creek and Waackaak Creek, officials said.
Officials said that it was the second fish kill in the waterway this week. It’s a common occurrence caused by a cocktail of warm, still waters and growing plant life.
“The temperatures have been sweltering, and you can imagine what it’s like in the smaller bodies of water,” said Greg Remaud, the deputy director of NY/NJ Baykeeper.
Baykeeeper officials said that tests revelaed that oxygen levels in the waterways were below the minimum concentration for fish to survive.
“This is primarily a natural phenomenon, but it is exacerbated by polluted runoff, including fertilizers from lawns, which is why preserving stream corridors and buffers is important,” said Remaud.
Chopper 4 footage from the scene showed thousands of fish carcasses floating in the bay, mostly grouped around docks and twists in the waterway.
Officials said that most of the fish, normally used for fertilizer, will likely be washed out of the bay within two tide cycles.
There is no risk to the public from the water or the dead fish, authorities said.