Fisk kill claims multiple species, Riverkeeper reports 2-mile area of creek

Published 6:22 pm Monday, August 13, 2007

By Staff
affected by incident
By MIKE VOSS, Contributing Editor
A fish kill involving multiple species near the Cotton Patch Landing area of Blounts Creek likely may have been caused, at least in part, by low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, according to an official with the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation.
Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Heather Jacobs, in an e-mail she sent to the Daily News, reported she visited the kill site Saturday. Most of the dead fish were menhaden, but other species such as striped bass, yellow perch, bream, carp and catfish had died, too, she said. Some of the striped bass were 12 inches long or longer, Jacobs noted.
It was unclear when the fish kill occurred, but Jacobs’ e-mail included a comment about reports, which were made Saturday morning by other people, that indicated a higher number of dead fish than she observed.
Attempts to contact the Pamlico-Tar River Rapid Response Team, which investigates fish kills in the river and its tributaries, were unsuccessful Sunday.
Jacobs estimated she saw 50,000 to 100,000 dead menhaden, ranging in size from 2 inches long to 6 inches long. Aside from menhaden, most of the other dead species — and the largest of the dead fish — were found farther up Blounts Creek near Herring Run, Jacobs reported.
The fish kill covered an estimated 2-mile section of the creek, Jacobs reported.
Jacobs, in her e-mail to the Daily News, said dissolved oxygen levels at the lower end of the fish kill were less than 2 milligrams per liter at the water’s surface and under 0.5 milligrams per liter at the bottom of the creek.
Jacobs also reported that some of the dead menhaden had sores.
On May 29, the Pamlico-Tar River Rapid Response Team investigated a fish kill at Crystal Beach on the Pamlico River.
The team discovered more than 30 decomposed mullet, bream and striped bass near the mouth of Nevil Creek and the Crystal Beach campground. The team determined the fish died as the result of some aspect of recreational fishing.
On Aug. 2, 2006, the team determined low levels of dissolved oxygen resulted in the deaths of about 13,000 spot, croaker, menhaden and blue crab near the mouth of Blounts Creek.
A fish kill on Duck Creek in late July 2006 was blamed on low levels of dissolved oxygen. About 150 silver perch and 10 catfish were found dead by a resident, according to Susan Massengale, spokeswoman with the N.C. Division of Water Quality.
The team is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The team has a hotline anyone may call to report fish kills or algal blooms. The hotline number 1-877-337-2383. The team also may be reached at (252) 948-3999.