Hinterland Green

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thousands of Floating Dead Fish in Florida Bay May Have Been Killed by Heat Stroke

SHOCK:  Thousands of dead fish popped up in Florida Bay, possibly the victims of what is being described as a marine version of a heat stroke. The number of dead fish were unusually large for the waters of Everglades National Park, which included floating redfish, snook and other species covering nearly 20 acres in between Buoy Key and the coast, according to Dave Hallac, the park's chief of biological resources.

According to the Miami Herald, some fish kills happen almost every year in Florida Bay. Because much of the bay is shallow, with vast flats only a few feet deep, water conditions can change rapidly with the weather. Cold snaps can prove unbearable and lead to death for temperature-sensitive fish such as snook, while extended hot, dry spells can raise salinity and kill sea grass, with a sometimes fatal effect on other life as the decaying plants suck oxygen from the water. Hallac said that while low oxygen is suspected, levels must have dropped quickly. He fished the area over the weekend and caught sea trout.

There was no visible signs of the green algae blooms that have plagued the waters of Florida Bay and the Keys in past summers. Hallac said the park collected water samples and is working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to pinpoint the problem.
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