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Cold inflicted major toll on fish in Florida

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posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 02:29 PM
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A deep freeze in the shallow waters of Florida Bay and Everglades took a heavy toll on snook and other native fish.

Everywhere he steered his skiff last week, Pete Frezza saw dead fish.

From Ponce de Leon Bay on the Southwest Coast down across Florida Bay to Lower Matecumbe in the Florida Keys -- day after day, dead fish. Floating in the marina at Flamingo in Everglades National Park alone he counted more than 400 snook and 400 tarpon.

``I was so shook up, I couldn't sleep,'' said Frezza, an ecologist for Audubon of Florida and an expert flats fisherman. ``Millions and millions of pilchards, threadfin herring, mullet. Ladyfish took it really bad. Whitewater Bay is just a graveyard.''

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.

``Based on what I saw in 1977 and 1989, there is a good chance well have a second wave,'' said William Loftus, a longtime aquatic ecologist for Everglades National Park.

During those last two major cold fronts, weakened survivors succumbed to infections from common bacteria, such as aeromonas, that they would normally ward off, he said.

..............

www.miamiherald.com...

We are supposed to also get a second wave of arctic cold snap up north in Montana/Wyoming etc. All we can do is wait and see.




posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 03:25 PM
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reply to post by ElectricUniverse
 


S & F'd

This is the first I've seen of this in the National News. My old (retired Fish and Wildlife) fishing friend that lives south of Cape Canaveral emailed me about the severity of this. Water temps in the 50s didn't seem that cold to me (being from AK, hehe) but he explained that the tropical fish like snook simply can't take the cooler temps and go belly up. He was afraid this would happen and so it did. What is worse is that they could still have more cold weather yet.

He mentioned that they went out and collected sea turtles by the hundreds to try to save them, some save, some not.

Here's what he said in an email:

"The impacted sea turtles were mostly in shallow lagoons and bays. Water temps in some areas dropped to the mid 40's. They become very lethargic and their systems start shutting down. They may remain comatose for a few days, and, if not rescued in a matter of days, will die. If the water warms rather quickly most will revive on their own. The last figures I saw reflected around 3,000 rescued - although some of those will have passed the point of no return. The different species of fish, of course, have varying degrees of tolerance. Snook, for example, may start showing some signs of stress below 57 degrees and when it gets in the 40's you know there will be a dieoff. The State has already cancelled a 3 month open season on snook scheduled for June 1 (its currently closed). I should point out that the snook is considered a "tropical" species and most fish in our area can withstand lower temps than snook."

My friend and I were very involved in the Exxon Valdez sea otter rescue at Prince William sound so are concerned about wildlife disasters such as this.



[edit on 20/1/10 by plumranch]



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 03:30 PM
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I'm in FL myself (west central).

I have a little stream on my land, lots trees, plants, etc. So - that means there are usually lots lizards, frogs and the like around.

Just being out puttering around in the yard and garden I've seen so many dead frogs and lizards from the cold.

It got below freezing for about a week straight here - and that is very rare. Fish weren't the only ones that paid the price. Lots of other little critters did too.



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 03:52 PM
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reply to post by Frogs
 





Fish weren't the only ones that paid the price. Lots of other little critters did too.


Thanks!

There is some good news in this. This will also kill of some of the undesirable species, the invasive species:


While it might take snook and other saltwater game fish years to rebound, the cold snap should at least temporarily help less-popular freshwater natives such as sunfish by knocking off walking catfish, Mayan cichlids and other tropical exotics that have invaded the Everglades and many of South Florida's canals and ponds, said Loftus, who retired from the park last year and now runs a consulting business, Aquatic Research and Communication in Homestead. It also might help him in his current job of trying to knock back exotic fish populations at Fairchild Tropical Gardens, he said. ``I'm dancing a jig here,'' he said.



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 03:54 PM
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Gators are gonna be eatin good in the next week and there will be lots of nutrients redeposited into the rivers and canals.

I hate those big iguanas, they freeze and go to sleep and fall out of the trees. That's funny.



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 07:27 PM
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reply to post by JJay55
 


Iguanas falling out of the trees! I suppose they would! Question... do they recover or is that it for them?

Here's another email from my friend, Walt. My question was about how long recovery will take:
"Hard to tell how long it will take populations to recover, but we are obviously looking at a long term versus short term recovery.. Its the worst I have seen in the 20 years we have lived in FL. Its really sad - I saw a 20-30 lb dead snook off our dock this afternoon - the fish of a lifetime for most of us!"



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 07:42 PM
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The cold greatly influences the metabolism of fish and othyer sealife in a negative form as far as the immune system is concerned.

Could it be that polution has reached critical levels for marine life that even a drop of metabolism due to sheer cold can be a main factor for the toll and not the cold it self? Cuold the drop of metabolism cause death which would not be case were the polution less?

After all water temperature is greatly affected near the wter surface and not so much deeper down, the deeper you get the less the influence.

So fish would normally not be subjected to extreme and threatening cold...
Then again a reduced metabolism in adverse/poluted conditions masy be the key?

Anyone?



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 07:47 PM
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reply to post by GEORGETHEGREEK
 





After all water temperature is greatly affected near the wter surface and not so much deeper down, the deeper you get the less the influence.


True about pollution but here is what the article said:


When the water temperature drops below 50 degrees, that's reasonably lethal for most of these species.''
The duration of the cold and high winds worsened things, Ault said, pushing colder, heavier waters off shallow flats into deeper channels where fish typically seek warm refuge. ``Even the channels became a tomb,'' he said.


So winds can make even the deep waters cold by mixing up the water layers. The cold is very lethal to many of the tropical species!



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 08:12 PM
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reply to post by plumranch
 


I know being the owner of a tropical fish tank and also lover/observer of the sea living by the sea...

Even so...

I will give another twist...

I am not aware of too many similar phenomena in the past when pollution was still not a matter. Maybe the fish death toll is an indirect effect of the pollution.

Just saying.... I feel not all of this is normal.

In my eyes its one of the few consequences of our intollerable ways of modern living and culture.
In my eyes its the pollution anyway,
crashing its way back on all of Earthlings.



posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 04:14 AM
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Originally posted by plumranch
reply to post by JJay55
 


Iguanas falling out of the trees! I suppose they would! Question... do they recover or is that it for them?

Here's another email from my friend, Walt. My question was about how long recovery will take:
"Hard to tell how long it will take populations to recover, but we are obviously looking at a long term versus short term recovery.. Its the worst I have seen in the 20 years we have lived in FL. Its really sad - I saw a 20-30 lb dead snook off our dock this afternoon - the fish of a lifetime for most of us!"



Alot of fish became landlocked when the Army Corp of Engineers made levees and land development closed them in.
The lakes by the Miami airport were a chain in the 60's and then all became seperate without an outlet to where these fish could find shelter. Same in the everglades, the natural marsh was split up which made the sponge dry up.

Big problem with evasive species in Florida too.



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