Thousands of bunker fish suffocate from lack of oxygen in water

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Thousands of bunker fish suffocate from lack of oxygen in water

"You could've walked across the water".

As disturbing as this incident is, experts say fish die-offs are not uncommon in the area.

This was a classic fish kill - a massive die-off that occurs when too many fish are in a body of water with too little oxygen. Officials believe they were chased by a large school of blue fish.

That was the view yesterday at Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays, New York.

While locals wait for an explanation, they've been assured that, at this stage, this is not a public health issue - but the smell can't be all that great.

"I don't remember any day or any time like this", Hampton Bays resident Jerry Ippolito told WABC.

Chris Paparo of the Stony Brook Marine Sciences Center said once the fish entered, they couldn't get out. Thousands of fish were asphyxiated, creating a blanket of stinky corpses from almost one end of the canal to the other. The canal locks and gates were reopened at 10:00 a.m. Monday, allowing the live and dead bunker to enter Shinnecock Bay.

Another video of this mornings fish kill.

Schneiderman said he's been working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to come up with a plan. Caruso, together with fisherman Jamie Humel were both stunned by the sight and started scooping up fish into their boat after seeing them popping up in the water. Regional Department of Environmental Conservation spokesperson explained that fish kills happen when a large number of school of fish get trapped in a confined area and the oxygen levels go down, leading to suffocation.

Still others have become dinner for local birds. All in all, big algal blooms can quickly create a fatally low-oxygen environment, particularly when fuelled by human pollutants in warm waters populated by lots of fish.

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