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Thursday, September 23, 2010

NJ Fish Kill Caused By Broken Commercial Net

A broken net on a commercial fishing vessel caused the wash-up of thousands of dead menhaden in the North Wildwood area over the weekend, according to an investigation by the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife.

The fishing vessel reported that one of its nets broke, releasing an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 pounds of fish. Most of the fish washed up along Hereford Inlet, although some fish were reported scattered on North Wildwood beaches from the inlet south to 18th Street.

Menhaden are a bait fish that is a member of the herring family and are also known as mossbunker, bunker or pogy.

The vessel works out of Lund's Fisheries in Cape May. Lund's has accepted responsibility for the incident and will remove the fish. The DEP is working with Lund's and local officials to ensure a quick and thorough cleanup.

The incident was not related to low dissolved oxygen levels as what was originally thought. Low dissolved oxygen levels are believed to have caused the massive die-off of menhaden last month along an eight-mile stretch of Delaware Bay in Cape May County.