potato sponges
Ray Slavicki, of Ship Bottom, pulls a potato sponge out of Barnegat Bay on Saturday.

These potatoes are not what you would call appetizing.

Thousands of dead potato sponges have floated to the shore of Long Beach Island over the past week, causing local officials and residents to scratch their heads and plug their noses.

The sponges — which officials have determined are not a health hazard — are grayish, water-filtering organisms filled with organic material that rots and gives off a terrible smell.

“I love potatoes, but I never heard of potato sponges,” Ship Bottom Borough Councilman Ed English said Saturday. “They give off a real foul odor.”

English said Public Works officials discovered them Thursday and contacted the Ocean County Health Department. While the department performed tests and took water samples, government officials closed the beach between 12th and 16th streets. The strand has since reopened.

The results came back negative for sewage or any other public health hazard. English said Public Works always removes foreign objects from the beach and will continue to do so.

Never miss breaking news as it happens! Sign up now to receive alerts delivered to your inbox.

Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.