By Outer Banks Voice on February 21, 2018
Thousands of dead menhaden have been washing ashore north of Corolla village between Currituck mileposts 15 and 17. in the four-wheel drive area since early Wednesday morning.
Officers with the N.C. Marine Patrol did not estimate the number of fish washed ashore, but said that in some areas they were piled thick and in other areas piled thin, according to a statement from Division of Marine Fisheries spokesperson Patricia Smith.
She also said officers noted that as the tide came in, the fish were spreading out over a larger area.
Officers said they did not see any marks or sores on the fish, and collected samples for Division biologists to conduct tests.
No vessels could be observed in the vicinity when the officers arrived because of foggy conditions.
“In the afternoon, once the fog lifted, Marine Patrol flew over the strand and saw no fishing activity in the area off North Carolina,” Smith said. “There was one U.S. Coast Guard vessel about 8 miles offshore and some large vessels off the coast of Virginia.”
Smith added that commercial fishermen were out later in the day picking up the dead fish to use as crab bait, and sea birds have been feeding on the fish all day long
“At this point, the division does not know what caused the fish kill and additional fly-overs tomorrow are pending weather,” Smith said.
Locals say the last time this happened was in 2015, when hundreds of thousands of fish washed up along six miles of beach.