ROQUE BLUFFS (AP) – Dead herring stretch for hundreds of yards along the shore at Sanford Cove and the stench of rotting fish has forced residents to shut their homes tight.
“We’re not used to this,” Vicki Kelley, whose parents own a golf course across the road from the cove, told the Bangor Daily News on Monday. “It makes you want to move.”
Lucille Sinford, Kelley’s mother, said business has been hurt since the dead fish started washing ashore a week ago.
“Yesterday, our golfers started leaving,” Sinford said. “We never have an odor off the clam flats. It’s always been so clean.”
The Maine Marine Patrol is investigating the cause of the mass fish death.
Gordon Faulkingham, a Marine Patrol officer, checked the cove Monday afternoon. Without commenting on the fish kill there, he said that in the late 1950s seine fishermen caused a mass fish death in Faulkingham Cove on Great Wass Island.
Faulkingham noted that most of the fish in Sanford Cove seem to be piled around the edge rather than lying out on the mud in the cove where clammers dig. He said more dead fish were piled up on a stretch of shoreline nearby.
“This is bad right here,” he said.
Lobstermen who use herring as bait have showed up to load handfuls of free feed into buckets.
Darrell Richards, who lives on the cove just east of the Sinfords, said he has a fisherman friend who came to the cove.
“He went down there and picked up 45 buckets Sunday afternoon,” Richards said.
Bait prices have increased so that it costs about $10 for a 5-gallon bucket of bait, he said, which means his friend saved $450.
One family whose house overlooks the cove erected plastic owls on the roof to scare off hordes of gulls.