Sussex County Delaware

Pfiesteria Found
in Sussex Waters

Pfiesteria ...

Arnell Creek, Assawoman
Samples Contain Pfiesteria

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said on Friday, Aug. 4, 2000, that Pfiesteria Piscicida has been found in water samples taken from Arnell Creek.

In a press release, DNREC said that two independent laboratories have confirmed the presence of Pfiesteria Piscicida in water sampled July 19 in the upper Arnell Creek, where 200,000 juvenile menhaden died that day.

Arnell Creek is near the mouth of Love Creek in northern Rehoboth Bay.

Routine water tests last month also revealed that Pfiesteria Piscicida was present in samples taken from Little Assawoman Bay, but no fish kills have been reported there.

While the tests could not confirm whether the Pfiesteria found was toxic, DNREC did say that the samples contained 37,000 cells of Pfiesteria Piscicida per milliliter. The previous highest count from Delaware waters had been 300 cells per milliliter back in August 1997.

Arnell Creek was the site of a fish kill of 200,000 juvenile menhaden (revised from original estimates of 500,000) on July 19, 2000. None of those fish had the tell-tale lesions often found on fish killed by Pfiesteria.

Additional tests are under way on the July 19 water samples.

No additional health advisories are being issued as a result of the tests, butthe public is asked to use common sense in Arnell Creek and to stay away from areas with dead or dying fish.

Anyone seeing dead fish should report the sighting immediately to DNREC at 1-800-662-8802.

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