NEWS

Looking for a catch

Posted 10/13/21

Looking for a catch The birds outnumbered two-legged anglers Friday at Pawtuxet Cove and the environs of the upper bay as schools of juvenile menhaden, shad and herring, followed by blue fish and stripers, were driven into shallow waters. Cormorants,

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NEWS

Looking for a catch

Posted

The birds outnumbered two-legged anglers Friday at Pawtuxet Cove and the environs of the upper bay as schools of juvenile menhaden, shad and herring, followed by blue fish and stripers, were driven into shallow waters.

Cormorants, seagulls and the occasional egret made the best of it on an ebbing tide that made for easy pickings in inner Pawtuxet Cove. Fishermen and women tried their luck for bigger prey from the Aspray Boathouse dock in Pawtuxet Park.

The phenomenon has also resulted in huge numbers of dead fish just below the village bridge.

Christine Dudley, deputy chief of freshwater fish for the Department of Environmental Management, said the large fish kill is an example of a “natural occurrence” when schools of smaller fish flee to a confined area – such as the mouth of the Pawtuxet River – to escape larger predators. In such cases, she said, the smaller fish can quickly use up the available oxygen, resulting in mass death.

Dudley acknowledged the foul smell and disturbing visuals that can accompany this phenomenon, but said passers-by should know it is not unnatural or indicative of something worse.

“Of course, it looks terrible and people think it’s a pollution issue,” she said. “But mostly, we’ve always found it was an oxygen deprivation issue.”

(Herald photos)

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