Wednesday, March 08, 2006
There was almost a beaching of hundreds of fish in a North Carolina estuary, known as New River. The fish, including flounders, speckled trout, spot and pinfish, nearly left the river in late February, and the cause is still largely unknown. It was feared that a toxic algal bloom might have played a role in the event, sometimes called a jubilee, but tests conducted by scientists at UNC Wilmington have shown there to be no such toxins in the water. While the reddening around the pectoral fins, below the mouth and head and some red spots on the body could indicate that the fish were exposed to a toxin, water tests showed no signs of an algae bloom that could have caused it. There is always a chance that the water samples were not representative despite being collected at the site of the event, but more likely some other factors have contributed to low oxygen levels in the water. In events with low oxygen, fish seek shallower water. However, while not uncommon, these events mainly occur in the summer when high temperatures and low winds create stratification in the water column, not the late winter. Read the whole article here.