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Hundreds of Atlantic Menhaden washed up in North Myrtle Beach on Sept. 11. Photo courtesy of the city of North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach is cleaning up hundreds of fish that began washing up along Cherry Grove starting Thursday night, said city spokesperson Pat Dowling. 

The fish are all one species, Atlantic Menhaden, and are all in a line at the high tide mark, Dowling said.

The city is using a a beach rake to clean them up, said Dowling, who added that the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control would investigate what happened.

Atlantic Menhaden are a foraging fish that feed off phytoplankton and zooplankton, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They can live up to 10 years-old, reach up to 15 inches when fully-grown, and weigh up to a pound at maturity.

They're often harvested for fertilizer, animal feed, bait, and both human and animal supplements.  

Around 1 p.m. Friday, the city said it was almost done using three mechanical beach rakes to clean up the fish. 

According to DHEC, fish kills often occur in the summer because warmer water doesn't hold as much oxygen, which can cause too much stress for fish, and kills them in large numbers. 

A DHEC spokesperson said Friday's fish kill posed no threats to humans.

Menhaden2

Hundreds of Atlantic Menhaden washed up in North Myrtle Beach on Sept. 11. Photo courtesy of the city of North Myrtle Beach

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