Large fish kill, dolphin stranding reported on Outer Banks beaches

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Corolla, NC (WTKR) - A large number of dead fish and a dead dolphin have washed up on the beaches of the Outer Banks over the past few days.

Locals have reported that the stretch of dead fish runs for approximately three miles in the Corolla area.

"Last night it was probably a mile long, and then when we were taking our kids to school this morning it is now about 3 miles long," Jeff Kelly told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Wednesday.

"I don't know what's causing it, but I would like to know why. This is my home. I want to know why this is happening. My kids play on this beach," he continued.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources manages fish kill activity in the state.

Environmental Senior Specialist Jill Paxson with the Division of Water Resources says she hasn't seen the fish kill nor gotten reports of it, but says they are typically caused by one of two factors.

One is netting from commercial fishermen who are permitted to discard certain fish that they are not targeting. These fish are then sometimes brought ashore by the winds.

The other common cause is a water quality event with a drop in dissolved oxygen. This can happen after a heavy rain with a lot of sediment or a localized algae bloom.

She says without being there, she couldn't say for sure what would cause this event, but did say that a dolphin also washing up was "interesting."

Jane Kepler, Wildlife Education Specialist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission first responded to reports of the stranded dolphin around 11:00 a.m. Tuesday.

She says the dolphin was an adult male that was healthy, aside from a chunk taken from its right side. That could have possibly been a shark bite, but it's still unknown whether that happened before or after the dolphin died. A necropsy will be performed to determine an exact cause of death.

The dolphin was a "common dolphin," which is actually a quite uncommon sight for the Outer Banks. Common dolphins are an offshore species that roam in large groups. Most of the dolphins seen in the Outer Banks are Bottlenose dolphins.

Researchers say at this point, there's no way to tell if the fish kill and the dolphin stranding are related or just a coincidence.



  • KC

    Netting? Seriously! You’ve got to be kidding me! It has nothing to do with netting or temperature, but more to do with the up coming destruction of the islands due to oil drilling and the testing for oil!

  • leesuhrenay

    Thank you for making notice of this event. In addition to the possible causes there is another possibility being the unexplained earth shakes that I first noticed a month ago and were wide spread reported on social media the 16th.
    As it is under protest locally for off shore drilling there is speculation it could be due to underwater testing for oil pockets happening despite our outcry to not proceed with this plan.
    #drillspillrepeat #nottheanswernc

    • john e dick

      I’m inclined to agree with LEESUHRENAY funny how nobody seems to know the answers on the ground shaking here in kill devil hills. but a lot of people felt it not HEARD IT. That wasn’t a sonic boom AND NOW DEAD FISH washing ashore Somethings going on we are not supposed to know.

    • David Penland

      It’s more likely natural methane pockets erupting, than having anything to do with oil exploration. There are methane vents by the hundreds off of the outer banks, and large tsunamis have historically happened from some of the larger methane eruptions off the coast. That would be why my wife and I won’t live there….

      The Sierra Club, Saudi Arabia, and Putin are busy spending money right now on the east coast in order to try to help their own agendas in the world, especially in Europe. Please don’t allow yourself to get suckered into believing the lies going on in this state right now. They are purposely focusing on people that don’t realize the truth of the situation so that they can further their agendas. I keep coming across new signs stuck in the ground of small towns across NC trying to get the locals involved in debates on petroleum exploration, when there isn’t anything like that going on near them…for instance, nofra… That is an outright scam to make money off the ignorant. It’s awful that they manipulate others that way… Their purpose is to overwhelm petroleum companies and local governments with mobs of people that don’t know any better, being brought together by one ‘perceived enemy’. It’s called ‘Monkey-wrenching’. It’s also called ‘terrorism’ in other countries, and to them it is ALL about making money off of people hating oil companies… It’s so easy to believe that ‘dirty oil companies’ are out to screw people, but the companies to actually worry about are all around you, and NONE of them have to do with petroleum…

  • Debra Rothrock

    I believe that this was a natural occurrence. There have been thousands of birds flying north the past two days. Yesterday, the fish were traveling in this area of the beach along with a whale and there were some awesome feeding frenzies because the whale was chasing the fish to the surface, the gulls were diving and…the fish in the picture are the ones that the gulls struck but didn’t eat or the ones that the whale left behind. We were watching them for hours…here is a pic of the whale and gulls.

    • RS

      Hey Deb, 3 miles worth of dead fish. You can’t possibly believe this was due to a whale and birds?? Come on!

  • mello biafra

    cant wait for them to start drilling for oil huh? this whole thing sounds like a dead kennedys song

  • ChemE

    You guys think 6 million EIRP watts of focused, pulsed electromagnetic power can do that as it grounds out into the oceans near the surface, shocking the fish?

    Radar/Call Sign Duck NC (DUCK)
    Model HF-Radar
    Max Pulsed Power (Watts) 60000
    Gain (dBi) 20
    EIRP 6,000,000
    Frequency (MHz) 13.5

  • Justin Dandar

    Calm down people. Those fish are menhaden. They very sensitive to changes in water and could have easily died from natural causes. They are known to even die from suffocation due to schooling to tight with each other.

  • zayıflama yöntemleri

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  • zayıflama yöntemleri

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  • DMK

    There is a facebook story going around claiming it is caused by booms that can be heard/felt for 100 miles.

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