Mass Fish Die-Off Not Caused by Pollution, Experts Say

Thousands of dead fish washed up in the Mystic River in Everett and Somerville this week, blanketing the muddy shorelines and emanating a stench that customers and employees at a nearby Costco store said could be whiffed from the parking lot.

But city and state officials, as well as local environmentalists, said Thursday that while the sight was alarming, the fish had died due to natural causes.

Patrick Herron, executive director of the Mystic River Watershed Association, said the Department of Environmental Protection and state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife were investigating what he called a “die-off” that left tens of thousands of menhaden — or, as they’re more commonly known, “pogies” — in the area. . .

“The die-off started seemingly on Monday, but on Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday, large numbers of the fish were showing up dead,” he said. “It appears they are in the high thousands, if not in the tens of thousands.”

According to the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, water samples recently taken by MassDEP investigators did not show any problems with oil or hazardous materials, indicating the fish kill was not pollution-related. The water was around 83 degrees Wednesday, they said. (Read more from “Mass Fish Die-Off Not Caused by Pollution, Experts Say” HERE)

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