Increase in algae causes dead fish to wash up

Excess algae kills fish, other marine life


Brown tide started in the Mosquito Lagoon and moved west to the northern Indian River lagoon in the summer of 2012. It was the first sign of its kind documented in Florida.

A year earlier, 50 square miles of lagoon seagrass had already died after a different form of excess algae appeared from Titusville to Eau Gallie, and then another from Eau Gallie to south of Vero Beach.

News 6 partner Florida Today reports thousands of dead fish continue to appear in the Indian River Lagoon. Ranging from Titusville to Melbourne, causes could loom from widespread algae that has been growing for months.

Near neighborhoods in south Cocoa Beach and Patrick Air Force Base, dead fish have been seen washed up on the banks of the water. The fish found dead range from small junk fish to massive sport fish. Fish 25 pounds or larger have been reported by residents.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have attained reports from a state database that  collects information on fish kills that show thousands of dead fish ranging from species like catfish, flounder, horseshoe crabs, and several others.

State wild officials could not pinpoint the reason for the deaths of the fish recently.

Officials are considering the growth in algae which is decreasing oxygen amounts in the water as a possible reason.  Despite the increase in algae, no fish consumption advisories or recreational advisories have been given. The brown tide algae is deemed not deathly.

The killing of fish and other marine life can be traced back to excessive algae. The large amounts of algae are causing a decrease in the amount of oxygen in the water along with blocking sunlight from seagrass.

In the Indian River lagoons and the Banana River is where most of the damage is seen. The algae spike has come about much earlier this year then in years previous.

FWC urges civilians to not attempt removing the dead fish because within a couple of days, they will sink to the bottom.

The continual problem of excess algae is still a prominent topic over local budgets. An emergency cleanup plan is being put together by multiple Brevard County agencies.

Scientists say that reasons for the spike in algae could be from air pollution, septic tanks, excess nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers, and leaky sewer systems.

Brevard County currently is cleaning out nirtogen-laden trash from canals in the Cocoa Beach and Turkey Creek area. Brevard County also is looking to complete other large trash cleaning projects.

For the upcoming budget year, the Florida Legislature has allocated $26 million for lagoon restoration projects in Brevard including $21.5 million towards cleaning trash out of the canals in the Grand Canal area.

To impose further federal action to clean up waterways, conservationists have begun an online petition drive.

Cocoa Beach has taken action into preventing dirty waterways. Cocoa Beach has put up sewer lines, taken out most septic tanks, built a new waste pond at the Cocoa Beach Country Club, relined city sewer pipes to stop leaks, and recycles waste water at its sewer plants.

Report a fish kill to FWC's Fish Kill Hotline: 800-636-0511 Or report the fish kill online: http://myfwc.com/FishKill



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