| Animals |

Five Powerful Photos Show Massive Fish Kill in Florida

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

For the past week, residents along Florida’s Space Coast from Melbourne to Titusville have been reporting an alarming number of dead fish in the water. According to lifelong residents like Captain Alex Gorichky, a conservationist who runs a small fishing tour company, it’s the worst fish kill in decades.

“There are hundreds of dead fish," Gorichky reports from the Banana River Lagoon off the coast of Cocoa Beach. Every species of fish in the lagoon, even redfish that have been breeding for 35 years, are belly-up,” “The stretch is 30 miles long, and we’re looking at devastating amounts of fish floating throughout that whole 30-mile stretch.”

Gorichky remembers a few other fish kills in the past ten years or so but nothing like this. He says those were isolated incidents that happened in the hot summer months and mostly in stagnant water.

“It’s not an isolated incident; we’re talking about wide-open expanses of rivers, canals, pockets of water with no tidal flow,” he says. “We’re going to have a serious problem once they start decaying.”

No one is sure what is causing the latest sprawling fish kill. El Nino and the unseasonable heavy winter rains sent a wave of polluted runoff into the waters. This surely weakened the health of the ecosystem, but it was exacerbated last week when there was a sudden spike in temperatures. This caused a “super bloom” of green and brown algae that killed acres of underwater sea grass and depleted oxygen levels for fish and other marine wildlife.

“The best way to describe the water is radioactive-Yoo-hoo green,” Gorichky says.

Marty Baum, of the Indian Riverkeeper — a group of fishermen and citizens who monitor the health of the Indian River —  joined Gorichky on the water to see the devastation for himself.

“It’s death as far as I can see in every direction,” Baum says. “I’ve seen things that I’ve never seen before.”

Here are five photos, provided by Gorichky and Indian Riverkeeper board member Marjorie Shropshire, that show the devastation of the latest fish kill: 

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.