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Fish dying as Irene debris robs NC river oxygen

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GREENVILLE, NC (AP) -- Fish are dying in eastern North Carolina rivers, among the many casualties of Hurricane Irene.

WCTI-TV reported crowds have gathered on the banks of the Tar River in Greenville to watch as fish struggled to breathe.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources says hundreds of fish have turned up dead in the Tar, Pamlico, Roanoke and Pasquotank rivers since Hurricane Irene made landfall last weekend.

The storm pushed massive amounts of leaves, wood and other debris into the rivers. The decomposing refuse uses up oxygen in the water and leaves little for fish and other aquatic life.

Fish kills are not uncommon after hurricanes. Masses of dead fish also appeared after Hurricanes Bonnie, Floyd and Isabel. More dead fish are expected in the coming days.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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