Authorities are scrambling to clean up thousands of dead fish washing up on the Jersey Shore before crowds flock to the beaches amid sunny weather this weekend.
Dead fish were first spotted in the Shark River early Monday, and have now washed through an inlet into the ocean and onto beaches. The fish, believed to be moss bunker, are spread for about 3 miles along the shore, from Belmar down to Spring Lake.
Prisoners from the Monmouth County Jail have been brought in to help pick up the fish in Neptune Township, where more than 5 tons have been found dead this week alone.
State environmental officials say there is no indication of disease, and that the fish, which normally produce in large numbers and consume a lot of oxygen, simply overproduced.
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty says crews will be patrolling the beaches this weekend to clear any dead fish out of the way of beachgoers.
--Brian Thompson contributed to this story
Published at 8:16 PM CDT on May 15, 2014 | Updated at 5:56 AM CDT on May 16, 2014