RED BANK, NJ: According to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) it seems that a bacterium is responsible for killing fish in the two river and other waterways,

Affected waterways include the Raritan Bay and menhaden fish kills have been reported in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. 

Known as mossbunker, menhaden is plentiful along the Atlantic coast and primarily used as bait, as well as being processed for its high fish oil content for nutritional supplements.

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Initially, low oxygen levels in the water were seen as the cause, but it now appears the Vibrio bacteria is responsible.

In a study of 30 samples, Clean Ocean Action reported that the menhaden fish species seemed to have experienced multiple organ failure and that high levels of Vibrio were discovered.  COA has called for an intensive federal and state study of the problem.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the NJ DEP are working to better understand the fish kills that happened in recent months.

It seems that only the menhaden fish species appear to have been affected. “Vibrio species are quite diverse and common in marine habitats, and we are actively investigating," said Larry Hajna, a spokesperson for the NJ DEP.  There is nothing to suggest human health or other fish, shellfish or wildlife are at risk.” 

An interesting observation: Seagulls are not taking advantage of this free smorgasbord.  How do they know?

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