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Several hundred thousand dead fish wash up in New Jersey creek

By Allen Cone

KEANSBURG, N.J., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Several hundred thousand dead fish have washed up in a central New Jersey marina's creek in the past week, wildlife officials said.

The fish in Waackaack Creek, which peaked Saturday, are peanut bunker -- the name describing Atlantic Menhaden after hatching, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Bluefish or skates probably chased them into the creek, officials believe.

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"Although the water is tidal, the creek and other surrounding waters where the fish have washed up can get stagnant during certain tides and we believe at this point that the die-off is due to dissolved oxygen levels in the water," Bob Considine with the state EPA said.

The DEP said there a smaller fish die-off last week and last year.

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Residents nearby reported the foul odor.

"It's bad, it's enough to gag you," one resident told CBS2. "It smells like a sewer plant backed up and let out in the water."

The fish clogged boat engines.

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Frank Dean, who manages marinas in Keansburg, said the dead fish and mid-August heat combined for a foul situation.

"You know if you leave fish in the garbage can for a couple of days and it's hot out, it's going to smell," he said. "Well that's the smell."

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Keansburg Mayor George Hoff said the area is being cleaned up.

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"Right behind us in the creek we really can't do much about it because it would be a massive cleanup effort, but on our beach where they washed up, our Department of Public Works is taking care of it," Hoff said. "They're cleaning it up with our beach rake and dumping it into dumpsters and then hauling it off to Monmouth County reclamation Center."

Hoff hopes they will be gone by the end of the week.

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