fish kill press

Experts, city officials hoping for restoration after pollution kills thousands of fish in Biscayne Bay

NORTH BAY VILLAGE, Fla. – After witnessing more than 4,000 pounds of dead fish that have been pulled out of the water by a contractor working for Miami Dade county, experts said on Tuesday they believe the fish kill is coming to an end but are also investigating the matter at hand.

After a meeting with the Biscayne Bay Watershed management advisory board, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins expressed her disappointment on the recent major fish kill.

It was recently reported on Wednesday by Local 10 News that more than 1,000 fish recently died in the northern Biscayne Bay basin in Miami-Dade County.

“Where we are today is as a result of many, many years of neglect,” said Cohen Higgins. “This is not something that has happened overnight, and it’s not something that is going to get corrected overnight.

Local 10 News’ Ian Margol spoke with Interim Director of Miami Dade County Environmental Resources Management (DERM Rashid Istambouli who said he’s been noticing improvements in the recent fish kills.

“We have seen a waning of the fish kill reports,” said Istambouli. “Our field observations have all shown we are not seeing active struggling fish as it was noted back on Tuesday of last week so that is a step in a positive direction.”

Dr. Rachel Silverstein, Executive Director of Miami Waterkeepe, said that pollution has led to the death of seagrass at the bottom of the bay which helps create oxygen in the water for wildlife to survive.

“What’s going on in the Bay right now is that it has too much pollution and we know that’s the underlying cause of the fish kill.” Silverstein said.

Experts say the bay is so fragile that the slightest catalyst can drop dissolved oxygen levels dangerously low.

“Basically what’s happened is the Bay has lost its resilience, said Silverstein. “It’s not able to withstand any shocks or stressors without causing a fish kill or some other catastrophic event.”

Experts from the county, local universities, non-profits, government agencies and more are working together to go through all of the data they have collected about this fish kill in hopes to return the bay to a healthier place.

“What we’re looking at now is trying to understand what the conditions are leading up to the Bay crossing this tipping point,” said Silverstein.

“Two years ago, we were all in silos, everybody was all trying to figure it out on their own, said Istambouli. “We’re not seeing that this time-- Everybody is sharing data, observations and really the next step forward for this specific incident is to figure out why.”

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