Lack of oxygen in water causes massive fish kill

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by The Associated Press

WCNC.com

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 5:40 PM

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina environmental officials say measuring equipment at the site of a recent big fish kill allows them to pinpoint the reason hundreds of thousands of Atlantic menhaden are dead. 

The state's Division of Coastal Management said Friday that visitors to popular Masonboro Island near Wilmington may see the results of the fill kill during the coming good-weather weekend. 

The menhaden apparently clustered tightly in a narrow area at Loosins Creek earlier in the week, causing oxygen levels in the water to plummet to nearly zero in less than an hour. Big die-offs from menhaden bunched tightly together, possibly due to the presence of predators, have been seen before, especially in winter months.  

Water quality monitoring equipment in the area recorded the sharp drop in dissolved oxygen early Tuesday morning. 

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