Worms to Blame for Falmouth Salt Ponds Fish Kill


Senior Fisheman
Jan 10, 2009
Craig, Colorado
Best Catch
Worms to Blame for Falmouth Salt Ponds Fish Kill

Earlier this month, a concerningly large amount of dead striped bass were found washed up on the shore of the Falmouth Massachusetts Salt Ponds. This naturally caused a lot of concern among anglers who were worried about a possible pollution event, algal bloom/red tide, or even due to fishing pressure. The MA Division of Marine Fisheries has now clarified it was none of the above, instead, they determined that what killed the fish was something weirder than anyone expected. A mass spawning event of cinder worms let the striped bass eat themselves to death.

The MA DMF determined that the fish gorged so heavily on the recent hatch of cinder worms that recently spawned in the Salt Ponds that were literally stuffed to gills. The dead striped bass that were observed by the MA DMF were found to be fully engorged with the cinder worms to the point that the worms were even stuck in the bass’s gills. Cinder worms are small marine worms that live in the mud of the salt ponds and surrounding estuaries and have mass spawning events in the spring that last for about two to four weeks. Essentially the fish pigged out during the spawn to the point that they choked themselves out with the cinders worms. While this occurrence is a bit shocking and unusual, the DMF states that it isn’t entirely uncommon.

The MA DMF also did water testing in the Salt Ponds and found the water to be in good condition and that the fish did not die of the original concerns that anglers had, such as poor water quality/pollution, or a harmful algal bloom/ red tide. None of the fish that the DMF officials observed had signs of fishing-related injuries or fishing gear on them. The dead striped bass have been washing up for at least a week now, so hopefully the fish kill should be already coming to an end. If the dead fish continue to wash up the MA DMF will continue to investigate.

To see the official Falmouth news release check here.

The post Worms to Blame for Falmouth Salt Ponds Fish Kill appeared first on OutdoorHub.

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