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100,000 Drum Fish Die in Arkansas River

January 4, 2011

100,000 Drum Fish Die in Arkansas RiverFirst birds dropped dead from the skies, now thousands of fish have died in Arkansas.

Officials are investigating what may have killed some 100,000 fish in the Arkansas River in the northwestern section of the state, authorities said on Sunday.

Deceased fresh water drum littered 20 miles of the river near Ozark, Keith Stephens of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission told the Daily News.

"It appears that it could be a disease, because it just affected one species," he said. "We don't believe it's environmental, because it would have killed a lot of other fish."

It is not uncommon for a disease to kill so many in such a short period of time, Stephens said, because the fish are "concentrated in the area right now," and cold temperatures means it "would pass very quickly."

The dead fish were first found on Thursday. Fisheries officials are conducting tests to determine how they died.

This isn't the first time such a mass death of aquatic life has occurred in Arkansas.

"We have fishkills from time to time, it's not unusual," he said, adding that several have occurred in the last five years.

This fish mystery took place more than 125 miles from the town of Beebe, where officials are still trying to determine what caused thousands of blackbirds to suddenly fall from the sky on New Year's Eve.

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