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Author Topic: Strange day - Indian River Crabbing Report 9/15/17  (Read 2993 times)
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crabbyrick
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« on: September 15, 2017, 11:18:07 AM »

So we had a few strange things out there today and I'm reaching out to my fellow crabbers to see if any of y'all have experienced these things. First of all, it could not have been a more gorgeous morning. Water like glass, just picture perfect. Ran our trot line for almost 3 hours and got 26 crabs. Probably the worst we've done all year, but that's a side note. Noticed an unusually high volume of seagulls in the river, but didn't give it a thought. So as we're running the line we see a lot of little fish swimming on the surface. Looking closer, they appeared to be gulping for air. Then we started finding dead ones floating. 20, 30 maybe - not sure. Not minnows either. Don't know what they were as I'm a crabber, not a fisherman but I'll attach a couple pics. So we get home, and have 2 dead. It was definitely not hot enough for dead loss. Dead of summer it happens, but not a day like today. Cleaned the crabs, no discoloring of the meat or black specks or funny smell. Cooked up, no odd smell. But something was definitely off today. It was like the fish were starving for oxygen in the water so they were swimming on the surface, mouths wide open. Any ideas fellas?
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2017, 11:23:48 AM »

looks like a spot and a sea trout the reason they were gulping for air , not enough oxygen in the water
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 11:31:09 AM »

first pic a a menhaden (bunker) 2nd is a sea trout
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Crabbincrazy1
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 04:12:30 PM »

Wednesday morning I crabbed in the rain for two hours. Caught mostly females. Don't know why there was all females. But the seagulls where everywhere. Never seen it like that before. Fish constantly jumping out of the water. There were small dead fish floating pretty much everywhere.  It was a very strange time on the water for sure
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 07:33:06 PM »

Were you anywhere near the power plant?
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crabbyrick
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2017, 07:50:30 PM »

Indeed we were
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bgfishhook1
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2017, 05:45:37 PM »

Were you anywhere near the power plant?
That answered a lot of questions for you right there, discharge from the power plant had depleted oxygen in the discharge water  it don't take much before fish become disoriented and eventually die. I do have my doubts on the second fish being a Sea Trout though.
Something else too, don't forget about Mountaire chicken processing plant has a discharge there too.
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2017, 06:31:02 PM »

It gets funky down there when its hot.  I crab it a few times a year because my Inlaws have a place in riverdale.  Recently the crabs have been slimy and my necks seem rotten after a half hour.  But I wil say those crabs are DELICIOUS down there.  Does look like a bunker and a weakfish to me.
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crabbyrick
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2017, 09:09:06 PM »

I gotta say, don't think it's anything to do with the power plant. We come out of White House Beach Marina and there were dead fish floating in there. From there down, dead fish everywhere. Not isolated to any one certain area. Saw hundreds of dead floating today, live ones still gulping for air. Saw a few dead crabs floating too. Lots of crabs swimming on the surface too. 3 hours today, caught 10 crabs. Talked to a couple other boats, same results. I'm seriously thinking these hurricanes caused some sort of freaky atmospheric conditions that took the oxygen out of the water. Its not a disease or bacterial thing. Meat is fine, crabs smell and taste good, and I'm not dead or sick yet from eating them. Never seen this before, even dead of summer when water is over 80. Strange is all I can say...
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2017, 09:40:05 PM »

That's a shame RICK I hope that somebody comes up with an answer for what caused the kill.
Good luck crabbing Rick.

BG
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Get it on !
A good one to remember is !
Keep your friends close, BUT keep your enemies CLOSER !
I am nobody, and nobody is perfect, therefore I am _________!
A truth that's told with bad intent  beats all the lies you can invent.
It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am ! JUST JOKING.
I thought that I made a mistake once , but I was WRONG.
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2017, 10:18:59 AM »

Have been crabbing all summer up by the power plant.  This weekend I saw the same stuff that Crabby Rick reported.  Dead fish, empty crab traps, and lots of birds on the water.  Put 4 pots in the water Friday afternoon, checked twice Saturday and had a couple of crabs but that's it. 

Moved 2 traps to Rehobeth Bay Sunday around 10 am and those traps were pretty full by 4 pm all be it mostly small ones.   The 2 traps I left in Indian River Sunday were still empty Sunday afternoon when I pulled them.  Definitely something wrong with the water in IR this weekend.

I noticed the sea gulls sitting on the water on the way out to set the traps Friday.  Caught 62 beautiful crabs labor day weekend.  Had friends down to eat crabs this weekend and got skunked.   But there sure were a lot of birds flying around.  Assume they were working the dead fish.

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Bill Graves
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2017, 10:59:48 AM »

I talked to an individual with U of D that runs a citizen monitoring program for the inland bays.  I am in the environmental business so I can somewhat talk the language.  Seems like a late microscopic algae bloom has been ongoing to some degree and is the likely cause of low dissolved oxygen. 

Signs of this are: poor visibility, brown tint to the water, lots of gulls on the water, and small fish stressed.  He indicated that lots of rain in the area this summer has resulted in excess nutrients being flushed into the upper waters of the inland bays and that is causing the algae bloom. 



 
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crabbyrick
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2017, 12:35:07 PM »

That's very interesting. All those signs were there so it definitely makes sense. We could see the distressed fish. They were swimming sideways on the surface, sometimes upside down, but still not dead. Yesterday was the worst. We saw HUNDREDS of dead bunker just in the 500' area where we were running our trot line. Also saw (2) dead crabs float on by us. And the amount of debris & scum that was floating on the surface was bad too. And I'm talking the whole way up & down the river, not just at the power plant. It's disturbing to say the least. Yesterday it took us almost (3) hours to gather up (10) crabs. NEVER had that happen.

Do you have any idea how long an algae bloom like this could last until the ecosystem "balances" back out???
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 05:43:27 PM by crabbyrick » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2017, 02:36:34 PM »

ive always heard that heavy algae blooms are caused most frequently by heavy rains washing runoff into the waterways from the fertilization of fields, pesticides, etc. Never heard that it has to do with nutrients. plant life is growing. I believe the heavy algae blooms use up the oxygen.
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Bill Graves
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2017, 10:29:59 AM »

The heavy rains wash the nutrients (nitrogen/phosphorous) into the rivers.  These nutrients are the food for the algae blooms. The algae depletes the oxygen in the water. 

 Driving to the beach over labor day weekend my wife and I noted unusual amount of odors that appeared to come from the application of manure to the fields.  A couple of weeks latter algae bloom and low dissolved oxygen.  May not be correlated. 


U of D has a Sept 9 observation at Rosedale boat ramp that noted an algae bloom.  It is my understanding that the algae will subside when the nutrient flow slows down or the cold weather kills the bloom.   Not much can be done about it except keep the stuff out of the water

The crabs/fish that can move have likely done so.  The others likely died. 

Hear are the DNREC # to report fish kills

Bruce Cole tidal waters 302 735-2961
After hours 302 739-8654

They will send someone too check the area

See you on the water.  I'm in the 17 ft whaler.
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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2017, 07:11:12 PM »

sorry for late response.  Neighbor called DNRC  they said its an algea bloom  got 8 keepers today in 2 pots .24 hr soak  6 BIG girls , 2 males. Signs of life coming back  there was no bait fish around since last weekend as everyone knows who has been back on IR
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