More dead fish show up in Neuse River

Published: Monday, August 12, 2013 at 03:35 PM.

Dove notified the Washington office of the state Division of Water Quality, which said Monday that the matter would be investigated.

Dove said Neuse River fish kills are now common in the summer months. He said a number of factors work in concert to produce low oxygen, resulting in fish kills.

“The water is hot and that has an impact,” he said. “And then we get the salt wedge that comes in from the ocean and that helps lower oxygen levels, especially on the bottom. The third thing that is working here is the nutrient pollution in the river. It deprives the water of oxygen and the fish die.”

He said that such fish kills are often labeled as natural occurrences, but he noted that has not always been the case.

“When the river was healthy more than 20 or 30 years ago, we didn’t see these kinds of large fish kill events in the main body of the Neuse River,” he said. “We would see them back in the creeks, where the water didn’t move, but it was rare to see them in the river.”

He said dead fish with sores are often spotted around September, when menhaden begin migrating from creeks to the ocean.

“They hang around New Bern for a couple of weeks and are supposed to migrate to the ocean,” he said. “That is typically when we see disease hit these fish.”

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