Thousands of fish dying after possible contamination

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Thousands of fish are dying at a hatchery in Newville, Cumberland County. Farmers in the area have applied manure to their fields as fertilizer and, with the recent temperature changes, some of the manure could be running off into spring water with the melting snow. That’s what Green Spring Trout Farms owner Doug Holt thinks.

Holt has been raising trout for nearly 2 decades. This year his trout are dying by the thousands. “For as long as I’ve been here we’ve never had to deal with something like this” said Holt.

Roughly 10,000 trout have already died. He thinks the manure run-off from nearby farms may be the cause. “Our water normally is crystal clear and in the last week, ten days, it’s been either brown or black or green” said Holt.

A spokeswoman with the Department of Environmental Protection said they’re investigating the cause and haven’t ruled out manure as the source of contamination. Robert Anker raises horses nearby. He said the extreme weather we’ve had has played a role in extra manure production. “My horses ate more because it was colder and we wanted to make sure that they were healthy so I would imagine that all the animals had to eat more” said Anker.

As for the remaining trout in Holt’s hatchery, he said they’re fine and that it was more a problem of not getting enough oxygen that killed the fish. Although he’s already lost roughly $20,000 as a result of the dead fish, he’s hopeful for the future. “We should be able to fill all our orders. The only exception might be certain sizes of certain species that we probably wouldn’t have” said Holt.

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