Thousands of fish are dying at Indian River Lagoon


Brevard County residents say the air smells putrid around Indian River Lagoon after thousands of fish are turning up dead in the water and along the shore, Florida Today reports. 

State officials don't know for sure why so many fish are dying, but suspect brown tide algae blooms are the culprit. While nontoxic, the blooms deplete the amount of oxygen found in the water, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida Today reports fertilizer runoff, air pollution, septic tanks and a leaky sewer system could be feeding the algae blooms.

"While nitrogen and phosphorus are vital components for all life, when too much gets into the lagoon the two nutrients can trigger algae blooms that block sunlight to seagrass," the newspaper reports. "Bacteria spike when the algae die and consume oxygen dissolved in the water, suffocating fish and other marine life." 

The species killed at Indian River include in "sheepshead, mullet, croaker, puffer fish, catfish, flounder, spade fish, horseshoe crabs and several other species," according to Florida Today

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