However, Menhaden die offs have a far older history than merely the incident noted above from North Carolina. In his classic 1959 book A Natural History of New York City John Kieran cites an account of a trip in 1679 and 1680 by two preachers named Jasper Danckaerts and Peter Sluyter which they published called Journal of a Voyage to New York, and a Tour of Several of the American Colonies. In their published account Danckaerts and Jasper report on finding on the shores of Staten Island the remains of thousands of fish known as "marsbancken", what we now call Menhaden. Elsewhere in his book, Kieran quotes from a story in the New York Times, dated July 30, 1954 which reports on the removal of forty tons of dead Menhaden from five miles of Rockaway Beach.
Thus, these die offs of Menhaden have happened periodically not just in recent decades, but indeed have been documented for centuries!