NewsCitrus, Hernando County


Marine life struggles in cold water off Florida's coast

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-18 18:03:46-05

The cold air this week has dramatically dropped water temperatures in the Gulf causing problems for marine life.
Water temperature off the coast of Hernando County is in the 40’s which is why some fish and marine life are in danger if they don’t get to warmer waters.
Warm water fish like Snook are showing up dead along Florida’s east coast. Florida Fish and Wildlife says they've gotten more than 100 reports of dead fish since the last cold snap. 

Kelly Richmond from the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said, "Tropical fish such as Snook or Jack Crevalle are more susceptible when the weather gets this cold. The water temperature can drop quickly and can cause mortality events such as a fish kill."

RELATED: More than 200 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued by FWC as cold temps invade Florida

 More than 900 stunned sea turtles have been saved this year already off the Florida coast. Many animals are saved because people are reporting them to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation. 
"We’ll get there and assess the animal. If they’re fine we’ll leave them alone otherwise we’ll try to get them to a rehab center," Richmond said. 
Some marine life that just need to warm up are taken to the power plant at Apollo Beach where hundreds of manatees can be found huddling in the warm water produced by the power plant.

RELATED: See hundreds of manatees flock to this Tampa Bay power plant 

The sea life that can, are heading into warmer springs like Weeki Wachee Springs State Park where the natural spring water stays a warm 72 degrees all year.
"This is a natural event, Richmond said. "A natural occurring cold weather event, we would just ask that people report the fish kill to our hotline.
The hotline to report marine life stunned by the cold water is 888-404-3922