RALEIGH – The North Carolina Division of Water Resources is currently investigating the numerous dead or dying fish found recently in the lower portion of the Neuse River, the state Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday.
Staff observed the numerous dead or dying menhaden with 3- to 5-inch-long severe lesions during the past several days in the Neuse River from Flanners Beach to Carolina Pines. Dead fish may continue to surface in the area over the coming days and holiday weekend.
Staff and other scientists are are working to analyze the fish to learn the cause, which does not appear to be water quality parameters, such as dissolved oxygen, according to the release. Conditions will continue to be monitored and updates will be provided when information is available.
The public is being advised to avoid contact with water where the distressed fish are being observed.
The state Department of Health and Human Services recommends not going in the water while these conditions exist; do not eat, use or collect any fish, crabs, other animals or items from these waters; and do not let pets swim in or eat fish from these waters.
If you come in contact with the water where fish or shellfish are dead, dying, appear sick or have sores take the following precautions:
- Remove wet clothing and keep it separate from other items until it has been washed.
- Wash any body part, except the eyes, that comes into contact with the waters, using soap and clean water. Rinse eyes with lots of clear, clean water.
- Use waterproof gloves when handling pets and items that have come into contact with the waters.
- See your doctor or health provider if you experience any symptoms such as confusion, vomiting, diarrhea or skin rash that might be caused by exposure to these waters.