State environmental agency releases new online app for reporting fish kills

Friday, June 10, 2016 - 12:00am

Hot summer weather often heralds an increase in fish kill events in North Carolina. The state’s water resources agency often relies on citizens to report sightings of these events, and have now made reporting fish kills in North Carolina waters much simpler with the development of a new online application that works on any device.

Previously, the public was asked to call a department regional office to report fish kills. The new online application allows people to provide the needed information quickly, and the app’s geolocation feature will assist DEQ staff in pinpointing the exact location of the event. 

Because fish kills serve as an indicator of waterbody health, monitoring kill activity can help environmental agency staff evaluate potential water quality trends and problems, and helps scientists and decision-makers formulate future courses of action.

Fish kills in North Carolina waters often involve a host of factors and underlying causes. Most commonly, fish kills in the summer months are caused by low concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water. Fish, like all other animals, need oxygen to survive.

If you see a fish kill in North Carolina waters, please use our new app to report it to DEQ staff for investigation, and follow these common-sense precautions from the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services:

  • Stay away from these waters while those conditions exist. Don't go into the water.
  • Do not eat, use or collect any fish, crabs, other animals or items from these waters.
  • Do not let pets swim in or eat fish from these waters.

If you come in contact with the water where fish or shellfish are dead, dying, appear sick, or have sores:

  • Remove wet clothing and keep separate from other items until it has been washed.
  • Wash any body part (except the eyes) that comes into contact with the waters, using soap and clean water. Rinse eyes with lots of clear, clean water.
  • Use waterproof gloves when handling pets and items that have come into contact with the waters.
  • See your doctor or health provider if you experience any symptoms (e.g., confusion, vomiting, diarrhea) that might be caused by exposure to these waters.

DEQ is grateful for citizens who report these fish kills to the department, and is confident this app will make that process even more streamlined.