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Thousands of dead menhaden wash up in New Jersey shore town

March 18, 2019

OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) — State environmental officials say thousands of dead fish have washed up in a New Jersey shore community.

The adult menhaden were found Saturday in creeks and bays in Oceanport that are part of the Shrewsbury River estuary in Monmouth County. Officials say the deaths occurred after a large school of menhaden were pursued by predatory fish and depleted the oxygen from the shallow water.

Officials took water samples and confirmed low dissolved oxygen in the creeks. Local crews were working to remove as many of the fish as possible, while the rest will decompose and eventually sink.

Menhaden are small schooling fish that play a vital role in the ocean food web. They are also harvested commercially for fish oil and use as aquaculture feed.