What Killed 1,000's of Fish That Washed Up on SC Coast?

7:18 PM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
Thousands of dead menhaden fish on the beach at Pawleys Island, SC. (photo by Pawleys Island police)
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COLUMBIA, SC  (WLTX) What caused thousands of dead menhaden fish to wash up on the southern end of Pawleys Island?  

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has a few ideas. 

One possible theory is thermal shock, which occurs when water temperatures drop, but according to SCDNR, the coast hasn't experienced any really cold nights.  

Another thought was that it could be an algae bloom which would make the water toxic for sea life; however, the water test results that DNR came in Wednesday morning and no sign of algae or other toxins associated with it were present.

According to Mel Bell, the Director of the Office of Fisheries Management for SCDNR, "We've had some really high and low tides lately.  We are thinking that what might have happened is that the fish got stuck in a low tide pool and depleted the oxygen in the water."

"We still are awaiting some more testing to determine officially what happened.  These kind of events occur every once in a while, the last one that I remember was in 2011 at Folly Beach and that was due to thermal shock." 

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