State investigates big fish kill at Myrtle Grove

Updated: Jul. 19, 2019 at 4:05 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - State wildlife experts are investigating a large fish kill at Myrtle Grove. Thousands of dead pogies, catfish and crab surfaced at the canal, and the boat launch all day, just days after Hurricane Barry’s storm surge moved out.

First it was Barry and the floods that followed. Now fishermen in this prime area are having to deal with a smelly large fish kill at a popular boat launch.

Pearl Young, who has fished the Myrtle Grove marina for years, said she didn’t like what she saw today, or smelled.

She fished right off the dock and had little luck, while others went farther out to find clean water.

The fish kill comes just days after Hurricane Barry pushed storm surge into this area. Huge sandbags used to shore up the levee are visible from the launch and many say it’s not unusual to see dead fish like this after tropical weather.

Thousands of pungent-smelling dead fish were visible hundreds of yards from the launch, but fishermen went out anyway to try their luck and checked their spots.

The fish kill created a feeding frenzy for seagulls.

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they are looking into the issue. They released a statement Saturday morning saying,

“We have not received any formal fish kill report from the field related to those pictures, but did get a verbal report from our New Orleans office. It looks like the pump station in the vicinity was removing water from the drainage canal inside the hurricane protection levee, causing hypoxic or anoxic conditions in the receiving waters.

Primary species in the photos is Gulf Menhaden, a very abundant species in the region.

The important take-away on this is that it seems to be a localized situation, not a more general issue for the estuary.”

The Myrtle Grove marina remains open in spite of the fish kill.

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