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Cold Weather Increasing Fish Kills Around South Florida

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MIAMI (CBS4) – The recent cold snap hanging over the Sunshine State is not only sending a chill through Floridians, it’s proving to be deadly for fish.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say they are seeing an increase in fish die-offs in state marine habitats, lakes and rivers due to the fluctuating and sometime extreme drops in temperatures.  Warm weather species, like snook, and exotic species, like butterfly peacock bass, tilapia and sucker-mouth catfish are also the hardest hit when cold temperatures linger.

FWC says there is no need for South Floridians to be alarmed, that the fish kills are natural occurrences that do not cause serious damage to the world’s eco-system. The kills often can be beneficial , as they help limit the spread of invasive, exotic species.

Even though the kills are not harmful to the environment, wildlife officials want to keep track of them as they occur around the state. If too many kills occur in natural lakes or estuaries, restorative measures may need to be taken. To report fish kills, contact FWC at http://research.MyFWC.com/fishkill/submit.asp or call the FWC Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511.

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