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Scientists Investigating Die-Off Of Common Long Island Fish

Courtesy of NOAA

Long Island residents have reported large numbers of dead bunker fish washing up on the beaches over the past month. State officials have sent fish samples and water quality samples to Stony Brook University and Cornell University for examination.

Large die-offs of bunker, a popular bait fish, are not uncommon. Bunker fish are particularly vulnerable to rapid temperature changes and low water oxygen levels.

Christopher Gobler, a professor at Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, told Newsday that a steep temperature drop could be the reason.

The fish typically would migrate to Florida at this time of year. But the Long Island Sound was unusually warm this summer, and bunker fish stuck around later than usual.