Sussex County Delaware

Half-Million Menhaden
Killed in Arnell Creek

Fish Kills ...

Low Dissolved Oxygen
Suspected in Kill

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control officials suspect low dissolved oxygen as the culprit in a fish kill of approximately 500,000 juvenile menhaden in Arnell Creek in northern Rehoboth Bay on Wednesday, July 19, 2000.

The latest in a rash of fish kills in creeks near Indian River and Rehoboth bays produced no lesions on the dead fish, leading DNREC officials to believe low oxygen levels killed the fish.

Arnell Creek is located near the mouth of Love Creek in northern Rehoboth Bay, just about 1 mile from where 1 million juvenile menhaden died at Bald Eagle Creek and Torquay Canal on July 6. Low oxygen levels are believed to have caused that fish kill, as well.

Last week, DNREC's Pfisteria Emergency Response Management Team issued a water contact advisory for Pepper Creek near Dagsboro after 50,000 dead juvenile menhaden were discovered there. The advisory was lifted a few days later following water tests that showed no signs of the toxic form of Pfisteria.

DNREC says juvenile menhaden are susceptible to depressed oxygen levels, a common occurrence in local waters in the summer. DNREC also said that Pepper Creek and Bald Eagle Creek, which saw a similar fish kill on July 6, appear to have higher juvenile menhaden populations this year than in recent years.

DNREC officials said the public should still use common sense and avoid swimming or other water-contact activities in areas with dead or dying fish or where water is discolored (milky or mahogany-colored).

People who observe dead or dying fish are asked to report their observations to DNREC's environmental hotline at 1-800-662-8802.

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