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Millions Of Dead Fish Being Cleaned Up From New Jersey Marina

KEANSBURG, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A New Jersey marina is trying to clean up millions of dead fish following a massive fish kill.

CBS2's Brian Conybeare reported giant suction trucks usually used for cleaning sewers are vacuuming out the dead fish that have left behind a rancid smell.

"Boaters don't want to come down because they can't stand the stench," said Jeffrey Lentze, owner of Lentze's Marina.

The massive fish die-off occurred just off Raritan Bay in Keansburg.

"It looked like it was covered with solid grave – you couldn't see the water," Lentze said.

Experts said the 3- to 4-inch peanut bunker were likely chased into a tidal creek by larger, hungry bluefish, but the warm, shallow water doesn't have enough oxygen and they all suffocated.

After the remains are vacuumed up, a front-end loader puts them in a dump truck headed for the Monmouth County landfill.

New Jersey Baykeeper Debbie Mans said the abundant bunker is actually a good sign for Raritan Bay's health.

"Whale sightings, dolphin sightings because they're coming in to feed on these peanut bunker," said Mans.

However, pollution and storm water runoff can reduce oxygen levels causing occasional fish die-offs.

"What's unusual about this event is the size and scope. It's millions and millions of fish and we've just never seen anything like that in recent memory," Mans said.

The Department of Environmental Protection said there was a smaller fish die-off last week and one last year, but residents said they have never seen anything like the one on Tuesday.

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