Dozens of fish washing up along Connecticut River

Hampshire County
Dead fish

People have noticed dead fish washing up on banks of the Connecticut River. 

The Connecticut River shoreline is littered with dead fish, near Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley. 

Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife say this is a natural occurrence. As water temperatures increase, water cannot hold as much oxygen as when it is cold. 

This is spawning season for shad and with the recent warm weather and the fact they are spawning in warmer water in great numbers means the little oxygen available is used up quickly, resulting in a fish kill.

Though it may look alarming, there is not a water quality or public health issue.

Although it becomes a concern for some people, others say, this happens every year around this time. 

“I’m already used to it so, it’s the stripers banging them up,” Holyoke resident, Nestor Quinos said. “There are a lot of them and that’s why they smell, but some people kick them back in, some people don’t but it’s no biggie, that’s nature.”

MassWildlife fish biologists will be notified and contact the original witness to find out more details and determine if this is a natural summer fish kill or a human-caused pollution event.  The vast majority of fish kills are natural events and do not require a site visit. 

“It’s kind of a smelly situation but it doesn’t bother me,” Brian Cross from South Hadley said. 

If it appears the incident is a human-caused pollution issue, fish biologists will then contact the Dept. of Environmental Protection to respond to and evaluate the situation.

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