PLANT CITY, Fla. - Half of the country’s tropical fish come from Florida, much of the fish raised in the Bay area. That industry, however, is being threatened by the extreme cold weather.
According to Ron Connor, who owns Connor Farms Tropical Fish in Plant City, the fish are in danger when the outside temperature reaches 40 degrees. As the temperature drops even farther, many of the fish will die.
For example, during last year’s freeze, Connor lost 90 percent of the at least eight million fish he has spread across 250 ponds on the farm.
“I could get close to that again this year,” Connor said.
That would cripple an industry already struggling because of the economy. Fish farmers have also lost business as young people grow more interested in electronics and less interested in having fish as pets, Connor said.
Connor has covered his outdoor ponds with plastic to keep the water warm. However, the wind often rips the plastic off.
He has also moved some of the fish indoors, although there is not nearly enough space to house most of the fish.
That means a large chunk of the tropical fish will die in the cold.
“We’ll lose a lot of money this year. Again,” Connor said.
Connor said that will likely result in farm workers losing their jobs and an important industry in Florida not helping the state’s economy.
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