Massive Cold-Weather Fish Kills Seen Across Florida

Snook fishing with Captain Van. Image credit:Let's Go Fishin

I was shocked to see news reports that so many native fishes, fresh and salt water species, were killed in large numbers, stressed by weeks of record setting, cold weather across Florida. It's the 'Big Kill.'

As reported in the Miami Herald: "Fish in every part of the state were hammered by this month's record-setting cold snap. The toll in South Florida, a haven for warm-water species, was particularly extensive, too large to even venture a guess at numbers. And despite the subsequent warm-up, scientists warn that the big bad chill of 2010 will continue to claim victims for weeks." Bone Fish and Snook are valued game species and symbolize the natural side of Florida's attraction for tourists . Does the Big Kill evidence climate change? If so, will people understand it as such?
As to the process, I am puzzled. The answer is important because these are native fishes, evolved over millions of years to survive in their native Florida environment. If the cold weather of 2010 really is this unusual - the fishes are not adapted - it demonstrates an extreme seldom if ever experienced on such a scale.

I know extended hot weather can take out dissolved oxygen in organically polluted waters, causing any trapped fish to perish. But this is totally different - there is optimal dissolved oxygen when it's colder. Perhaps their mobility is hindered by lower temps, making it impossible to catch prey. Anyone know?

Of course the denialists will point out that Florida has always had 'cold snaps.' This is no snap. "It's Nature's way of telling you,...something's wrong." Because fishing is part of Florida's identity. Take that away and what have you got but a kingdom with disappearing magic, replaced by a swarm of Burmese Pythons eating invasive Nutria.


Hemingway Days participants. Image credit:AllAroundFlorida blog

A lyrics bit below from Nature's Way: on Spirit album of 1970 , Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

I wish that song would make a comeback. Can you imagine it sung with passion on American Idol, driving denialists nuts?

It's nature's way of receiving you
It's nature's way of retrieving you
It's nature's way of telling you
Something's wrong

More posts on Florida weather.
Florida Hunters Urged to Use Cold Weather to Kill Invasive Pythons ...
Iguana Showers and Frozen Sea Turtle Rescue in Frigid Florida
2000 Endangered Sea Turtles Killed or Injured by Frigid Waters

Tags: Fishing | Florida

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