Unprecedented Fish Die-Off In Jacksonville, FLORIDA

Fish kill in St. Johns isn’t related to annual cycle

There’s no easy solution for the puzzling fish kill in St. Johns
, Jacksonville Times-Union, June 26, 2010:

CAPTION: Dead red fish litter the bank of the St. Johns River north of the Buckman Bridge [in Jacksonville] Monday, June 7, 2010. A multitude of dead red fish have been reported for the past two weeks with the cause being unknow [sic] at present.

If you think the… fish kill on the St. Johns River is an annual event that just came early this year — think again.

That’s the message that two men with close ties to the river want you to know. …

“This kill is unprecedented,” he said. He explained that fish kills due to low oxygen levels are typically confined to smaller areas, not as widespread as the problem has become. …

Fish continue to die in an area from roughly the Buckman Bridge [in Jacksonville] south to Lake George…

[Quinton White, the executive director of the marine science institute at Jacksonville University] said that last week the St. Pete lab sent staff to Jacksonville University to sample more recently killed fish. “They did necropsies on site,” he said.

He said they found lesions in the brains of some redfish. “I’m not sure what else,” White said.

That, White says, points to toxicity. …

White said that he’s received reports from the area of the Rudder Club — adjacent to the Buckman Bridge — of water birds that mainly eat small fish regurgitating stomach contents. …

Regardless of the results of the tissue sampling, White said that the prognosis isn’t something the public is going to want to hear.

“There will be no quick or easy solution” to whatever is happening. Identifying the problem isn’t likely to make it go away.

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