Baltimore – The Maryland Department of the Environment is investigating the deaths of tens of thousands of small fish that have died in the Chesapeake Bay in the past week.
“An estimated 2 million fish have been reported dead from the Bay Bridge south to Tangier Sound, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment, which investigates fish kills,” reports the Baltimore Sun.
The massive fish kill follows the recent death of over 100,000 drum found along the banks of the Arkansas River near the city of Ozark, 125 miles northwest from the capital city of Little Rock, as reported by Digital Journal.
Also puzzling scientists and environmentalists are the reports of red-wing blackbirds mysteriously falling from the sky in Arkansas compounded by news of hundreds of blackbirds dying in neighboring Louisiana.
A Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) spokesman, Dawn Stolzfus, said that the giant fish kill, consisted mostly of croakers but also included menhayden and spots. The massive fish kill reportedly occurred because of cold water stress in the bay, where temps have dropped rapidly to about 2 degrees Celsius, according to the Washington Post.
WBAL TV11 reports the fish usually swim to warm waters by the time the cold temperatures have hit the waters of the bay. Researchers have no idea on why they didn’t migrate to warmer waters before December.
At this time the MDE has no plans for clean-up and will “Let nature take it’s course,” said Stolzfus to WBAL.
This isn’t the first time excessive numbers of winter fish kills in the Chesapeake Bay have been recorded. The MDE spokesman said in 1976 and in 1980 large numbers of fish deaths were blamed on cold water stress.
The MDE asks anyone wanting to report seeing dead fish to call 1-800-MDE-GOTO. The Maryland Department of the Environment said they do check all reports of fish deaths for disease and pollutants.