Florida environment and wildlife biologists said they confirmed the presence of blue-green algae blooms in lakes and springs connected to the St. John's River.
"Water samples collected from Lake George, Silver Glen Springs and Salt Springs showed the presence of blue-green algae blooms in the area," a spokesperson for the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said. "Fish samples were collected as well."
According to a report in the Daytona Beach News-Journal, mullet with missing scales and lesions were reported at Blue Spring State Park, a popular swimming and kayaking destination in Volusia County known for its manatees.
Blue-green algae is caused by a species of cyanobacteria that uses light to photosynthesize the same way a plant would. It's naturally occurring in freshwater, salt water and brackish water.
The algae can be toxic to marine life living in infected waterways. The thick sludge that accumulates at the surface can eventually starve the water below of oxygen and sunlight, which fish and other marine animals, as well as aquatic plants, need to survive, according to the St. Johns River Water Management District.
FWC biologists and staff from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are also investigating areas with reported fish kills and disease, specifically mullet, around the St. John’s River, a spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed to News 6.
Joe Cruz of Deltona snapped pictures underwater of the sickly fish
“They kind of looked like zombies, like zombie fish,” Cruz said
Necropsy results are pending and it will take a few weeks before the results are in, FWC officials said.
“They looked very sickly they had grooves, ulcers and lesions on them," Cruz said. "Some of them were missing scales.”
This DEP map tracks algae blooms reported around Florida.