Tags: shinnecock canal | fish | kill | bunker

Shinnecock Canal Fish Kill Wipes Out Thousands of Bunker

Image: Shinnecock Canal Fish Kill Wipes Out Thousands of Bunker

A fish kill in Shinnecock Canal on Monday wiped out thousands of bunker. (Screengrab from Twitter video Brandyn Lucca/@Luccapedia)

By    |   Tuesday, 15 Nov 2016 11:48 AM

A Shinnecock Canal fish kill on Long Island on Monday is being investigated by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation after the canal was closed in Hampton Bays.

Officials closed the canal at 3 a.m., which trapped a dense school of Atlantic menhaden, or bunker, fish, numbering in the thousands, WABC-TV reported.

"You could've walked across the water. It was covered with fish," Martin West, of Hampton Bays, told News 12 Long Island.

The department told WABC-TV that when the Suffolk County Department of Public Works opened the canal locks at 10 a.m., most of the fish washed downstream with some still alive. The department said the fish might have died from lack of oxygen and the high density of the fish in the canal.

"The large school of fish was most likely chased into the canal by other predatory fish," the department said in a statement, per WABC-TV. The department stated, according to WABC-TV, adding that the fish kill does not mean that there is pollution in Shinnecock Canal.

Chris Paparo, manager of the Southampton Marine Science Center, told WCBS-TV that he believed a large school of blue fish in the bay forced bunker fish to flee.

"Blue fish eat bunker and they chase the bunker into the canal like this and the locks are closed, fish can't escape, and when they get pushed in they deplete the oxygen," Paparo stated. "(Fishermen will) use (the dead fish) for lobster bait, crab bait, fishing bait, so for them, a couple of them were saying it was Christmas."

News 12 Long Island reported that algae bloom and other environmental issues led to several fish die-offs over the past year.

Stony Brook University professor Christopher Gobler told Westhampton Patch that bunker fish are migrating south and are schooling densely in bays and coastal ocean.

"The sun went down and the locks closed at the same time both of which lead to low oxygen individually, Gobler said, according to Westhampton Patch. "… In the bigger picture, fishing restrictions in some southern states have allowed menhaden populations to grow in the past two years during which kills have become more common locally."

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A Shinnecock Canal fish kill on Long Island on Monday is being investigated by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation after the canal was closed in Hampton Bays.
shinnecock canal, fish, kill, bunker
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2016-48-15
Tuesday, 15 Nov 2016 11:48 AM
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