Gopal wants state, feds to pay for Monmouth County’s rotting fish problem

Manasquan police officers wade through dead fish while performing a drill near the Navesink River.

Something smells in Monmouth County and it’s not just the politics of the Monmouth Republican machine coordinating public contract business with the Monmouth Democrat machine, it’s literally millions of rotting fish from a fish kill earlier this spring. State Senator, Democrat Vin Gopal who knows a little bit about that is now trying to resolve the fallout from a major spring fish kill in the county and he wants state and federal money funneled into the towns he serves to clean it up.

Now, Gopal is seeking state and federal funding to clean up the mess. In a meeting with Clean Ocean Action this week, Gopal said he will seek funding reimbursements from other areas to help Monmouth County towns clean up the millions of dead and decaying bunker decomposing in the waters of the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers.

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Gopal is hoping to secure funding from the American Recovery Act to clean up the maggot infested fish kills.

The fish kill was caused by a bacteria Vibrio anguillarum.

According to the NJ DEP the current fish kill appears to be only affecting bunker, an extremely abundant member of the herring family primarily harvested for bait and non-food commercial purposes. Similar largescale die-offs have been reported since the fall in coastal areas from Rhode Island to New Jersey.

The DEP suggests local authorities should let the fish decompose and return their nutrients back into the waterways.

“Menhaden die-offs are expected to continue in the near term. The DEP will continue to provide information to local governments as appropriate and provide any public advice or advisories as necessary,” the DEP said. “The fish will naturally decompose and become part of the nutrient cycle in affected waterways. Local governments, at their discretion may remove fish from their riverbanks.”

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