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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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Old 01-06-2011
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Fish Kill

I'm over here on the eastern shore across from Annapolis looking out the window on the bay and there are thousands upon thousands of seagulls feasting upon the remains of the recent fish kill. I've seen reports that there are an estimated 2 million fish killed as a result of "bad weather". While the air temperature over the past several weeks has been slightly below average, it doesn't seem logical that the water temperature would follow that quickly to result in the kill. I suppose that is a possibility but to rule anything else out so quickly seems suspect.
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Old 01-06-2011
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Could also be a fish kill from an accidental sewage release, which would deplete the oxygen in the water in a large enough area long enough to result in such a fish kill event.
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Old 01-06-2011
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I agree that water temps don't move that suddenly. Water has the best thermal inertia against temperature change. It doesn't make sense.

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Old 01-06-2011
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I've seen fish kills due to temperature every year that I have lived in Florida. Not uncommon at all unless you're a conspiracy theorist.
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Old 01-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remetau View Post
I've seen fish kills due to temperature every year that I have lived in Florida. Not uncommon at all unless you're a conspiracy theorist.
Ooh, Ooooh, me me! I love a good conspiracy! Any good ones out there yet on these fireworks bird slayings?
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I'm not sure slightly below average is accurate. December was unsually cold for a prelonged period of time. It was towards the end of the month that we got the warmest days in December and then you were talking 40's. The majority of the month temps were in the 20's over night and barely above freezing during the day if it got above freezing.

We moved our boat for haul out on the 11th of Dec and there was already ice around the docks at HHN.

I have no problem believing the cold killed the fish, or perhaps the cold drove the fish into warmer, deeper water where there was a dead zone and the lack of oxygen killed them. Either way it comes back to the cold temps and relative poor water quality in the Chesapeake.
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Old 01-06-2011
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Dead fish, bird leavings...ugg. Makes a big clean up.

Sorry to hear about the fish kill, Dee. We used to have occasional fish die off on our farm pond. It would happen in Spring when the ice melted, the fish would float to the surface and would be blown to the downwind side of the pond.

My Dad would collect the fish (we did not have the gulls to clean up the remains) and plant them in his garden. Now this was only about a large garbage can full so you may have larger fish and more of them. I can tell you, that planting fish (like what the Indians did to grow corn) really makes your plants flourish. The issue of digging when the ground is frozen, would add to the challenge.

Your dock must be getting the full gull treatment. Ugg. Is the fish kill stretching the whole Eastern Shore line? Lets hope the fish remains are eaten, digested, floats away or sinks before it starts to smell. Good Luck with the clean up.

Leslie
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Old 01-06-2011
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Check out Maryland's DNR Monthly Monitoring site. It shows graphically, in that part of the Bay, the water temperature in December was 7 degrees below the mean water temperature, going back to 1985. It looks like cold water was the reason for the kill.

Ronbo

Maryland DNR - Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Water Quality Conditions

Last edited by ronbo1; 01-07-2011 at 08:43 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 01-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lancelot9898 View Post
I'm over here on the eastern shore across from Annapolis looking out the window on the bay and there are thousands upon thousands of seagulls feasting upon the remains of the recent fish kill. I've seen reports that there are an estimated 2 million fish killed as a result of "bad weather". While the air temperature over the past several weeks has been slightly below average, it doesn't seem logical that the water temperature would follow that quickly to result in the kill. I suppose that is a possibility but to rule anything else out so quickly seems suspect.

Experts say cold weather likely cause of fish kill - Baltimore Sun

Capital Weather Gang - Cold Chesapeake Bay waters likely behind fish kill

I have a friend whom works at the MD DNR Fisheries Service who explain it to me but noway could I translate what he told me
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Old 01-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb3pwc View Post
Your dock must be getting the full gull treatment. Ugg. Is the fish kill stretching the whole Eastern Shore line? Lets hope the fish remains are eaten, digested, floats away or sinks before it starts to smell. Good Luck with the clean up.

Leslie
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lying in Oxford, MD
Hey Leslie,

I haven't seen one gull land on the dock with the thousands flying around for the past several days. Knock on wood. I've heard reports that the kill goes from the Bay Bridge down to Tangiers some 60 miles. I assume it's on the eastern shore?? While all of this is probably cold related the engineer in me wants a more detailed explaination. Biology was never my favorite subject in school but just saying that the weather is responsible seems insufficient. Someone here mentioned that the cold weather drove the fish to deeper water and maybe that water location was oxygen depleted?? OK that's a start to understanding the cause. Looking at past fish kills and there causes would be another reference point for understanding. The electic bill I just received shows that the average temp for dec 2009 was 38 degrees while for this past dec it was 33. Are there other decembers on record showing such temperature reduction and what was the consequences then? It's early morning now and there are no gulls to be seen....maybe later ? Hi to Clayton.
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