Thousands of dead fish wash ashore north of Corolla

By on February 21, 2018

The fish had washed up between Currituck mile posts 15 and 17 Wednesday morning. (

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.


  • Robin

    Please keep me informed on what the cause is

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 2:52 pm
  • Really?

    OMG! It HAS to be those evil plastic bags!!
    Sorry snowflakes my bad it was just a pogey boat

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 3:48 pm
  • Chris

    It was reported a few days ago of a sun burst. It was to reach earth sometime in the past few days. It warned of interruptions in cell phones from the satellites and it warned of fish dying in mass. And washing up on the shore.

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 4:25 pm
  • Donna

    Maybe all the books lately is rogue seismic testing

    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 9:21 pm
  • Donna


    Wednesday, Feb 21 @ 9:22 pm
  • BuddyRoe

    No it wasn’t fishermen’s nets, plastic bags, sonic booms, sun burst, or even aliens from another planet.
    News flash this is nature at it’s finest nearly an annual event when conditions are favorable, typical in years with cold stun events. Omega Protein hasn’t worked NC waters for over 8 years now because purse seines have been regulated out of business.

    Thursday, Feb 22 @ 10:49 am
  • Jerry Schill

    Get used to it. North Carolina banned the use of purse seines to harvest menhaden several years ago thanks to a few fishing groups and environmental groups that claimed the sky was falling based upon a very flawed menhaden stock assessment. The only remaining menhaden facility left on the east coast is Omega based in Virginia.

    The previous Director of Marine Fisheries, Louis Daniel, took the flawed stock assessment to the North Carolina General Assembly and legislation was passed that bans Omega from fishing off North Carolina. After it was discovered that the stock assessment was flawed and the stock is indeed very healthy, the ban had already been in effect and has not been reversed.

    Omega doesn’t even start fishing till May, so don’t make them the boogeyman as I’ve noted on Facebook and to my knowledge there was no commercial fishing activity in that area at all.

    Thursday, Feb 22 @ 10:56 am
  • Voice of reason

    To clarify:

    People who call people snowflakes are not people anyone wants to be around or listen to.

    A sun burst, or electromagentic pulse, would not affect fish any more than it would people or horses.

    You can’t just sneak off and go do a little “rogue seismic testing”. There are some people in Norfolk who would not be happy with that.

    Thursday, Feb 22 @ 12:01 pm
  • Corissa Snyder

    I’ve been hearing loud booms for days now. My entire house shakes. I’m in Kitty Hawk and the sound is coming from the north. Seems to me that is probably the culprit. Anyone know what the booms are coming from??

    Thursday, Feb 22 @ 2:37 pm
  • David Pope

    I heard the booming.

    Thursday, Feb 22 @ 4:57 pm
  • Skiffguide

    This is nothing new. It’s common and will happen again.

    Thursday, Feb 22 @ 9:40 pm
  • Brad

    I’ve heard them too Corissa

    Friday, Feb 23 @ 4:34 am
  • Dylan

    Did anyone check those fish for parking permits?

    Friday, Feb 23 @ 8:53 am
  • Willard Whyte

    Perhaps its all the human waste that seeps into the ocean from all those wonderful houses from Corova to Ocracoke! The Outer Banks isn’t the paradise everyone believes, it’s a vast septic field that poisons the ocean!

    Friday, Feb 23 @ 8:55 am
  • OBXyeah

    Trumps fault. Seriously, when there is an over abundance, nature has a way to thin it out. Let the pogey boats back to fishing for them!! Nation of regulations especially on the commercial fisherman. Thank you whackos!!

    Friday, Feb 23 @ 10:24 am
  • clint midkiff

    We hear the booming here in Elizabeth City and it sounds like it is coming from the south. Harvey Point Defense Testing Activity Facility is located there. Operated by the Dept of Defense.

    Friday, Feb 23 @ 3:15 pm
  • LocaL yOKEl

    The BOOMS are trees falling/being blasted in central Currituck. No aliens, no Russians. Republicans, etc. What’s a snowflake?

    Friday, Feb 23 @ 4:49 pm
  • Bud

    probably from the yankee attitudes and trash, they are destroying everything else around here.

    Sunday, Feb 25 @ 6:12 am
  • hightider

    I hear the booms also in Elizabeth City. Am dying to know what the big secret is…

    Monday, Feb 26 @ 2:05 pm
  • Dan

    I have seen this result every so often. The last time was around 2012 up in Corolla (coincidence). They were mostly spot and it was late Spring. Before then was finger mullet on Hatteras Island a few year early. This photos shows a huge school of bunker, and my guess is it was a result of a large school of predator fish, stripers or chopper or tailor-sized blues. When they find a school of prey fish, these predator fish will chase them into the shore break. With an outgoing tide, the prey and sometimes a few predator fish will beached themselves. I hope scientist report what they learn.

    Monday, Feb 26 @ 4:31 pm