By Brendan Clogston
Thousands of dead menhaden fish (commonly known as “pogies”) washed ashore from the Mystic River into the inlet near the Costco in the Gateway Center in Everett this week, but state environmental officials are assuring anyone alarmed by the sight of fish carcasses as far as the eye can see that everything, excepting the incredible stench, is quite alright. This, they say, just happens sometimes.
According to Mystic River Watershed Association Executive Director Patrick Herron, the fish were likely driven into shallow, warmer waters of the Mystic River by a predator, where their great numbers depleted the oxygen supply in the water, suffocating them.
“This kill of primarily Menhaden was likely due to natural causes such as aggregations for spawning and/or predator avoidance, localized oxygen depletion, and rising water temperatures,” reads a statement from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
The Massachusetts Department of Environment Protection took water samples but found no issues with oil or any hazardous materials, ruling out pollution.
No count has been given for the number of dead fish washed ashore in Everett and Somerville, but state officials estimate that the figure could be in the tens of thousands.’