Mortality events, or fish kills, are not unusual for some marine fish species, and there are various naturally occurring causes that are typically responsible for these events, including low dissolved oxygen, changing environmental conditions, and pathogens.
Recently, DEC is receiving and responded to an increased number of reports of Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) dead or swimming irregularly throughout New York’s marine waters, including the Hudson River and around Long Island. DEC and neighboring state agencies have been investigating, monitoring, and tracking this event since fall of 2020.
Investigations of affected fish by NJDEP found internal signs of disease associated with the presence of a Vibrio bacteria in most samples. DEC collected samples of fish found in New York and this week confirmed the presence of the same Vibrio bacteria species in the tissues of the fish. This bacterium is naturally occurring in coastal waters and is attributed as a possible cause of the mortality event. The specific bacterium identified by the DEC and NJDEP is not typically known to be harmful to humans.
DEC encourages the public to report observations of a fish kill by sending detailed location information and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reports can also be made by calling 631-444-0714 for marine waters or 845-256-3199 on the Hudson River. We continue to work with state and regional partners to further investigate this mortality event.