RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thousands of dead and dying bunker fish that washed ashore in the Peconic Estuary are being washed back out to the ocean late Saturday afternoon.

Riverhead’s town supervisor was reportedly poised to declare a public health state of emergency, but told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith that it was not needed after the fish began to wash back out with the water.

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With concerns about the bacteria rotting fish would produce, officials asked local fishermen to help clean up the fish.

So far, about a half dozen fishermen have volunteered to net the fish at 32 cents per pound.

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Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said the fish started to appear in the Peconic River, Meeting House Creek and Saw Mill Creek on Thursday.

Walter said rain earlier in the week may have washed toxins into the water.

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