What Killed Thousands of Fish in a New York Canal?


On Monday morning, a local canal in Hampton Bays, NY was clogged with tens of thousands of dead fish. The silvery fish were stuffed so tight into the canal that it looked as if it was built into the structure. One resident said, it looked as he could have walked across the dead fish. After a period of time, there was a thick stench that filled the air.

Sources say the cause of the massive death was too many fish were in the water. When the water is overcrowded, there isn’t enough oxygen for the fish. Water filters through the gills of a fish, which allows the fish to extract the oxygen that was dissolved in the water. If there is an insufficient amount of oxygen being dissolved, fish will become hypoxic, causing them to suffocate and die. A statement was released by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, which stated that the fish were trapped, after the Shinnecock Canal locks were closed. It is believe that the fish were being chased by predators and the fish rushed into the canal.

Stony Brook University Marine Sciences Center lab manager, Chis Paparo said, “They chased them in here. But unfortunately, the locks are closed. So, it’s just a dead end. They can’t get out. And with the sheer number of fish in here, it just sucks the oxygen out of the water and they suffocate.”

According to the Daily News, this is not the first time that a large number of fish have been killed at once. They said other death have been caused by algae blooms. This occurs when the water’s surface is covered by a film of algae. The algae sucks up the oxygen and causes the fish to suffocate from limited oxygen. Algae consumes oxygen, when the sun goes down.