Mass fish deaths at Folly - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Dead fish wash ashore on Folly Beach

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By Brian Troutman
btroutman@abcnews4.com

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- A nationwide scare involving mass deaths of fish and birds has now hit ground locally.

Thousands of dead fish washed ashore at Folly Beach on Thursday morning -- an eyesore visible down both sides of the shoreline behind the former Holiday Inn.

Officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are investigating the incident and say  the fish are all of the same species -- Menhaden.

"We're still waiting to see if DNR can come up with some kind of a clue as to why this happened." Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said.

If the Fish are not washed away by the tide, Folly officials will be responsible for the clean up.

Bill Troy was out for his morning jog when he noticed thousands of the silver sided fish washed up on the shore.

"I came down this morning and right now I came back and saw a bunch of dead bait fish," he said.

Thursday morning's discovery on Folly Beach adds to a nationwide mystery involving similar occurrences of mass fish and bird deaths.

The incident joins recent wildlife deaths at Chesapeake Bay and Lebanon, Tennessee -- adding to a steady growing list of similar incident across the nation.

In the Chesapeake Bay incident, as many as 2-million fish were found dead in what wildlife experts have attributed to cold water stress. In Lebanon more than 100 birds were discovered dead along a highway.

DNR officials believe the incident at Folly to also be cold related as we are experiencing ocean temperatures off the Carolina coast that are below average.

DNR biologist Phil Maier said the fish generally school in groups of 100,000 or more so the kill was relatively small. The fish are about 6 inches long.

Two weeks ago Isle of Palms beaches were also littered with dead sea life. Dead starfish and jellyfish washed ashore in what experts also attributed to cold weather and cold water temperature.

* ABC News 4 reporter Jon Bruce and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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