FEARS surfaced yesterday that a fuel spill from a ship could be the reason hundreds of fish washed ashore in east New Providence on Tuesday. The wife of a fisherman who frequents the Montagu area said: "My husband came home after fishing and told me a barge in the middle of the harbour was sinking and men aboard were pumping water off the ship to stop it. He said it was toxic smelling and reeked of gas and fumes." The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "When I heard this morning about all the fish dying, my mind immediately jumped to what my husband told me." The vessel in question has been sinking for "forever and a day," the woman said. On Tuesday night, another source who lives on the harbour told The Tribune there had been either a fuel or oil spill over the weekend. However, he could offer no further details. When contacted for comment, director of marine resources Michael Brennan said water contamination could be the reason for the fish acting "disorientated" and then dying. But, he added, he doesn't believe that contamination was created by ship fuel. "That doesn't seem very likely to me," Mr Brennan said. "It's certainly very possible that a ship could leak fuel but gasoline and diesel are lighter than water so they would both float and wouldn't affect fish at the bottom. "It also dissipates rather rapidly. Although it is injurious to fish, gasoline evaporates quickly - and diesel." Mr Brennan said his department's investigations into what could have caused the fish to die are continuing. He said there are no conclusions to report to the public as yet.