The Department of Environmental Protection said the dead fish found in Waackcaack Creek in Keansburg are peanut bunker, which is a name used to describe Atlantic Menhaden when they are first developing after hatching. Officials believe they were likely chased into the creek by either bluefish or skates.
The peak of the dead fish appeared to be Saturday, said Bob Considine, a spokesman for the DEP.
"Although the water is tidal, the creek and other surrounding waters where the fish have washed up can get stagnant during certain tides and we believe at this point that the die off is due to dissolved oxygen levels in the water," Considine said.
See what the fish kill looked like from above, via NewsCopter 7:
The DEP added that there was another die-off last week, although it was smaller.
Scientists said it's not unusual for something like this to happen during hot summers. Residents said the same thing happened there about 8 years ago.
The number of dead fish has since decreased as some of them carried away with the tide or have been eaten by birds or crabs.
The biggest impact for the nearby homes is the odor. Residents said the smell of dead, rotting fish is awful.