Pa. DEP: Fish deaths in Presque ‘natural’
ERIE (AP) – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said as many as a million fish have died or are dying in Presque Isle Bay near Erie, but say it’s a natural occurrence not linked to pollution.
Jim Grazio, a DEP biologist, told the Erie Times-News the fish “die-off” began a couple weeks ago.
The dead fish are gizzard chad, which are susceptible to cold temperatures. Grazio says warmer than normal temperatures have melted the ice on the bay – where the fish often congregate to get away from the colder air and waters in deeper sections of Lake Erie. But the air is still cold enough to kill the fish once they’re not sheltered by the ice.
Officials said people shouldn’t touch the fish, which Grazio said will be left to “rot and recycle into the environment.”