Volunteers Clean Up Mysterious Rotting Fish From Beach

BELMAR, N.J. (AP) -
A front-end loader on Friday dumps dead fish in a container on the Belmar, N.J., beach. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
A front-end loader on Friday dumps dead fish in a container on the Belmar, N.J., beach. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Wanted: People willing to pick up stinky dead fish for free.

The call that Belmar officials put out Thursday night on social media didn’t put it that bluntly, but that was the reality 20 volunteers faced Friday morning as they turned out to help this popular tourist town clean up after a massive fish kill earlier in the week.

“I’m a beach brat,” said Helene Cappello, a Belmar resident who answered the call. “I’ve been coming to this beach since I was two. It just seems like the right thing to do.”

Friday’s cleanup came four days after a massive fish kill in the Shark River left thousands of dead moss bunker on the sand.

Mayor Matt Doherty said that since Monday, borough work crews have removed 30 tons of dead fish from the beaches.

John Maguire, Belmar’s public works superintendent, handed out plastic gloves and bags to volunteers before they began collecting the dead fish.

“We’re … hoping the locusts don’t come next,” he said.