Friday, January 7, 2011

Cold Water Stress? Does That Explain All Fish Deaths Reported?

Hundreds of Thousands of Dead Fish in South Carolina Follows 2 Million Fish Die-Off in Maryland

Wildlife Biologists Believe, like the Maryland Die-Off, Dead Fish in South Carolina Due to Record Cold Temperatures

Saul Relative
Just as the list of large populations of dead birds suddenly occurring continues to grow, so does the list of dead fish populations. The latest massive fish kill, following closely on the report of the 2 million spot
  die-off in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, was reported in South Carolina Thursday. 

According to UPI
, state wildlife officials reported that hundreds of thousands of dead fish began to wash ashore along the South Carolina coast, washing up on the beaches along the tide line. And like the Maryland fish kill, experts believe the fish succumbed to the unusually cold water.

South Carolina state wildlife biologists believe that the hundreds of thousands of menhaden, a bait fish that reaches the relative size of a mouse, is just another massive die-off that can be blamed on the abnormal cold weather conditions being experienced in various parts of the U.S.. South Carolina has experienced record-breaking cold temperatures this year, and, given that menhaden tend to swim in large schools close to the surface, their populations would be more exposed to the colder temperatures.

"Cold water stress" and "winter stress" have been blamed for the unusual numbers of spot found dead in the Chesapeake Bay earlier this week as well. Wildlife officials in Maryland estimate that nearly 2 million of the small (growing to around 7 or 8 inches in length) recreational sport fish were killed.

Both of the Eastern seaboard fish kills follow closely the massive die-off in western Arkansas that saw nearly 100,000 dead fish littering the shores of the Arkansas River for 20 miles. But unlike the South Carolina and Maryland populations, the Arkansas fish, a species called drum, are believed to have died due to disease, according to Arkansas officials.

The cold water deaths of the South Carolina fish have many wildlife experts worried that the record-breaking cold temperatures will begin to impact other fish and aquatic populations, like shrimp, sea trout, and red drum.

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