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Striped bass gorged themselves to death in Falmouth salt ponds

Steven G. Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

State officials have offered an explanation for multiple reports of dead striped bass washing up in Falmouth salt ponds.

Community members posted on social media over the last few days reporting they had found dead stripers by salt ponds in East Falmouth.

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries told CAI the recent spawn of cinder worms the fish feed on led to their deaths.

Andy Nabreski with On the Water magazine said fish can’t help themselves when food is abundant.

“There were just so many worms in this worm spawn that these fish actually ate themselves to death.”

He added that fish can gorge themselves unintentionally.

“Wild fish have been known to essentially kill themselves through gluttony and essentially eat themselves to the point where it causes physical harm.”

A fisheries spokesperson said some of the bass were found so gorged on the worms that their gills were clogged, suffocating them.

The bass had no signs of trauma from fishing activities.

Brian Engles is an author, a Cape Cod local, and a producer for Morning Edition.