A dead catfish, over two feet long, rolls gaped mouth in the surf on Lake Erie. Thousands of fish littered the beach line outside of Morpeth On, Monday September 03 2012
Credits: DIANA MARTIN/ THE CHATHAM DAILY NEWS/ QMI AGENCY
LONDON -- Hundreds of thousands of fish that washed up on the Lake Erie shore on the Labour Day weekend died of natural causes, the Ministry of Natural Resources said Saturday.
That means hundreds of cottage and homeowners are responsible for cleaning up the dead fish on their properties, officials said.
The die-off was a result of plunging oxygen levels in the lake, a natural occurrence.
But it happened on the first day of the busy long weekend, leaving thousands to deal with dead fish on what should have been a nice beach day.
The 40 km stretch of shore, from Rondeau Bay to Daytona Beach, saw perch, minnows, catfish, and sheepshead fish was up in the hundreds of thousands, gasping for air and dying, on Sept. 1.
The Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for cleaning up the provincial park, municipalities are responsible for cleaning up their beaches and property owners must clean up their properties.
“They can bury the fish, throw it in the garbage in double-bags,” said Bruce Hawkins, the manager of the MNR’s Lake Erie management unit.
More information about how to dispose of the fish and details about natural loss of oxygen in water can be found on the ministry’s website at www.mnr.gov.on.ca and clicking the “Understanding Fish Die-offs” link.