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Large fish kill reported in Chesapeake Bay

Officials say they’re investigating a large Chesapeake Bay fish kill but suspect cold weather and not water quality problems.

The Maryland Department of the Environment says an estimated 2 million fish have been reported dead south of the Bay Bridge since last week, mainly juvenile spot.

Agency spokeswoman Dawn Stoltzfus says bay water quality appears acceptable and biologists think “cold-water stress” is the likely cause. She says adult spot are susceptible to colder water and normally leave the upper bay by now.

Water temperatures plummeted in late December to about 36 degrees.

The department says large winter kills have occurred at least twice before in Maryland, including January 1976 when about 15 million spot died.