FWC: Drought killing thousands of fish

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Thousands of dead fish are reeking up a St. Pete neighborhood and things are about to get worse. The severe drought could mean more fish floating belly up in a neighborhood near you.

“Oh my god,” Barbara Kelly exclaimed looking out over the pond on 110th Avenue North between Martin Luther King Jr. St. N and 4th Street near Trellis at the Lakes Apartments.

Everywhere you look there are fish floating or rotting on the shore of a large pond on the apartment property. 

“It’s so sad,” Mary Myers uttered while walking her grandson on the sidewalk along the pond.

Melissa Otero looked out from her apartment balcony at the fish massacre, “Bottoms up and they were dead. All dead.”

The smell is putrid. Lindsay Jaroszek held her nose as she walked by, "Horrible, I was walking over here gagging. It was terrible.”

Several neighbors reported the dead fish to FWC's Fish Kill hotline. Strangely enough, FWC says you can blame the drought. As the water level drops, so does the amount of oxygen in the pond, which suffocates the fish.

Usually a fountain can help to aerate the water, but with conditions this dry, it can only do so much.

Micah Bakenhaster, an assistant research scientist at FWC explains, “The pond is like a fish bowl without a filter. As the water levels drop and the temperature heats up, the oxygen levels drop.”

Things will only get worse. The more drought we see, the more fish we will find floating belly up across Florida. 

That means you too could soon be dealing with a fishy situation.

“It’s a little scary because you don’t know what this drought will become. There’s one pond here, another across the street. It would be awful to see a bunch of dead fish lying around everywhere,” Otero added.

The only solution to the fish kills: Rain. 

Myers is already playing, "Oh please, rain. Please!”

FWC says they've already received 50 calls into their fish kill hotline. They expect the phone to keep ringing until the drought lets up.

If you notice dead fish around your home, you can call the hotline at (800) 636-0511. 

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