Scientists: Massive Brevard fish kill could spread south, not tied to Lake Okeechobee water releases…

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“Scientists say the massive fish kill experienced in Brevard County could spread south.

Zack Jud, Ph.D., is the Director of Education and Exhibits with the Florida Oceanographic Society in Hutchinson Island.
He said the news of dead fish in Brevard County is ‘nauseating,’ and is extremely concerned for the waterways and wildlife there.

‘We don’t normally expect to see this kind of catastrophic fish kill and this type of algae bloom in the winter. We’re really concerned that as water temperatures increase, as rainfall increases in the spring and summer, what we’re seeing right now may be the tip of the iceberg,’ he said.

The fish kill spread thirty miles across the Banana River, Zack said, and killed off at least fifty species of fish.

He says the fish kill is likely the result of an algae bloom caused by nutrient rich run-off from septic systems and fertilizer used on lawns in Brevard County.

‘That area has been experiencing a brown algae bloom since November, and those algae blooms can suck oxygen out of the systems so we have fish that aren’t able to breathe,’ he said.

Zack said it’s not easy for an ecosystem to recover from a fish kill like this, and that it could take years for fish to come back and thrive.

He added that what’s happening in Brevard County is an ‘environmental and economic catastrophe’ because if the fish don’t come back, it could push residents and businesses out of the area.

It could also kill off other animals that rely on those fish as a food source.

Zack said that what happened to the north could spread south.”

-By Katie Johnson, WPTV

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