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Cold weather fish kill needs documentation

Capt. Ron Presley
January 14, 2010
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

The Devastating Fish Kill Needs to be Documented

Being without a boat certainly has its drawbacks, but it is not all bad. I am catching up on honey-do's and other stuff I had put off. Also the cold weather has not been the greatest time to go fishing; At least it is looking better now. My new Pathfinder goes into production tomorrow and I am excited. I will be fishing from it soon.

My report is both to give some info on the cold weather fish kill and also to ask for some help in documenting it. If you already have pictures of fish kills, especially snook you can send them in. If you can go out and get some pictures it would be helpful in documenting the kill if you could send them in. (See address below)

Click to Enlarge Photo

The recent cold weather has produced a fish kill that appears to be as bad as any, if not worse, experienced in Florida. Brevard County has reports of fish kills from Mosquito Lagoon to Sebastian Inlet. One report from near the power plants in Titusville on the Indian River logged hundreds of dead fish, including tarpon, snook and catfish. There are similar stories all over the state. (See Video Link Below)

Another example comes from Charlotte Harbor where FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute estimate was at 30,000 dead snook. This number will rise as the carcasses begin to float up to the top and be more easily counted.

Rick Roberts of the Snook Foundation is hoping that someone will get some air support to check out the various creeks and other margins of the estuaries. He says, "We need to get the best evidence possible. Word of mouth is great but pictures are what we need. This event is analogous to something like Hurricane Andrew to our fish population by all reports."

If you have existing photos, or can get some photos over the weekend, from your area you can help in the documentation process. Send your photos to Rick at rick@snookfoundation.org.

Click to Enlarge Photo

The current fish kill makes it ever more important to stop the destruction of fish habitat.
Rick continues, "In order to best protect the remaining nursery and juvenile habitat policy makers need to put enforceable codes in place to stop the destruction. We have evidence that we have lost as much as 50% of what existed 50 years ago and that's not acceptable."

This event has the potential to leverage change, just as Hurricane Andrew changed building codes -- then it was the numbers of nails and straps required to tie down a roof, now it's time to protect the fishery and mandate protection of nursery habitat.

Alexis A. Trotter is a Fisheries Biologist specializing in snook research for FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. She says a more accurate appraisal will come as additional observations are made over the weekend. "I think this weekend will give us a better picture of the extent of this kill. It'll be interesting to see the reports that come in as the carcasses start to float."

To view a telling video report from Brevard county visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBtt8xIAAh8

That's what it's all about, good fishin'.

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Capt. Ron Presley is an outdoor writer and fishing guide. He serves on the board of directors of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, is Secretary Treasurer of the Florida Guides Association and editor of their newsletter. Capt. Ron operates Inshore Fishing Adventures in the Cocoa Beach area.

Contact Info:

Inshore Fishing Adventures
516 S. Plumosa St., #19
Merritt Island, FL 32952
Phone: 321-454-7285
Alt. Phone: 321-749-1787
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