MASONBORO ISLAND, NC (WWAY) -- State environmental officials report hundreds of thousands of dead Atlantic menhaden fish this week at Masonboro Island off of Wrightsville Beach.
If you are a coast watcher, you know the scene is always changing, but the changes at Masonboro Island were destructive.
"I saw all these birds. More than I've ever seen," Richard Johnson said. "I took video of it. It was unbelievable, and when I got to shore, I understood why. There was about a million little menhaden fish in the water sunk. On the shore, they were everywhere."
Johnson keeps close tabs on Masonboro Island. It is a passion. He is with Masonboro.org, the group dedicated to keeping the island clean.
"Masonboro.org, we're here because we want to keep the island open, public access, but to do that, we have to keep it clean. We're the guys that clean the island every 4th of July. We had 50 volunteers last year. We removed 4,000 pounds of trash, so we're out there to keep our island open," Johnson said.
While there has been dredging in the area, it is always hard to pinpoint the cause of a fish kill. North Carolina Coastal Reserve and Marine Fisheries are looking into the fish kill.
"They're studying it. They're trying to figure it out. They're taking samples. Maybe it's chemical. It might come down to no one really knows," Johnson said.