Fish kill reported in Padanaram Harbor

Jul 26, 2019

Town officials say ocean water around Padanaram Harbor is still safe to swim in despite a fish kill which was reported on July 26. 

According to a press release from the town, the state Division of Marine Fisheries confirmed several thousand fish died recently due to a lack of oxygen in the harbor and nearby Apponagansett River. 

The fish kill involved only one species: menhaden, also known as pogies. The species is prone to death due to hot weather in enclosed water systems. 

Long stretches of cloudy, hot weather can lower oxygen levels, and large schools of fish in tight, small embayments can oftentimes "smother" themselves. 

According to the press release, large, dense schools of menhaden were observed in the harbor recently, and it is likely this caused them to "suffocate" and die off from lack of oxygen.

The fish carcasses do not pose any environmental hazards. Water quality testing by the Town of Dartmouth has shown acceptable, passing results for continued bathing activity.