BALTIMORE, MD (May 25, 2004) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is investigating reports of fish kills in tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay north of Bloody Point on the Eastern Shore and the Rhode River on the Western Shore. The first report was received on May 16th.
The kills appear to be species specific – an estimated 95 percent of the fish are white perch – and in most cases involve 100 fish or less. It is possible that the sudden rise in water temperatures stressed the fish, lowering their resistance to disease.
Water samples taken where the kills occurred revealed neither high levels of pollution nor natural factors (such as low dissolved oxygen) that could lead to fish mortality.
Fish recovered in the mouth of the Magothy River are being analyzed by Maryland Department of Agriculture animal health diagnostic laboratory in College Park. Results are expected by the end of the week.
Similar fish kills involving white perch occurred in 1998 and 2002.
Consumption of the dead fish is discouraged and anyone coming into contact with them should wash their hands thoroughly or use antibacterial wipes.
Citizens are encouraged to report suspected fish kills by calling 800-285-8195.