For the past few weeks I've seen many groups on Facebook share photos of dead fish which are popping up all over Michigan beaches from Traverse City to the shores of Lake Michigan. Many people have been asking why there are so many of them, why they died and what can be done about them. The cause has been the biggest concern but it turns out it may be nothing more than a fish who isn't adapted to our waters making its way into our lakes, as one person suggested:
Alewives are an invasive fish coming in for the North Atlantic. It's a sub species of the Herring. They are normally a salt water fish. But during spawn season the go into fresh water estuaries, but can not survive the fresh water. Some adapt, others die off. It's a cyclical thing.
Another person suggested that it's currently more than one species that have been popping up on Michigan shores, and although similar in size have different features which make them stand apart:
There are two kinds washing up right now; alewives are the main ones you’ll see covering the beaches (typical for Michigan), but the DNR just planted young coho salmon that are very similar in size and color to Alewives but have very different tails. If you go down by the Maritime Academy or the mouth of the Boardman, you’ll see many Coho jumping out of the water but also a good deal of them “swimming sideways” in their final farewell.
I'm glad there isn't an issue with the water which is causing the deaths, but it still can't be a fun sight or smell with all those dead fish popping up. Hopefully it doesn't spoil spring swimming.