The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control believe the region’s excessive heat is the likely reason for the death of thousands of fish in Rehoboth Beach’s Silver Lake.
DNREC scientists say approximately 5,000 to 6,000 gizzard shad of all sizes in the lake are now dead as well as 600 adult white perch. A few adult blue gills and largemouth bass also died, according to scientists.
Officials say surface water testing indicated dissolved oxygen levels in the water were low enough in Silver Lake to be lethal to the fish. They also say high temperatures and an excessive microscopic algae bloom is the likely cause.
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“As long as these conditions persist, there’s a chance of more fish kills in Delaware,” said John Clark, DNREC Fisheries Section administrator. “Aggravating this summertime problem, increased temperatures lead to warmer water, which holds less dissolved oxygen. So seeing more fish kills this year as the heat continues would come as no surprise.”
If you observe an unusual number of dead or dying fish in Delaware ponds, rivers or other waterways, call the Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914. You can also call DNREC’s citizen complaint hotline at 1-800-662-8802.