Thousands of fish floated up dead this week in Turkey Creek, alongside several other dead animals, fouling the air and flustering residents.
“I’m seeing somewhat of an oil slick on top of the water,” Ken Abruzzini, who lives along the creek, said Tuesday.
Reports to a state fish-kill hotline included dead hardhead catfish, armored catfish and an alligator.
Abruzzini’s seen dead fish before in his eight years living along the creek, never this many at once.
“There were thousands of dead catfish in the water,” he said of his boat ride down the creek earlier this week, “to the point where we couldn’t go any farther because we we’re losing our breaths.”
Abruzzini said he also saw a dead turtle, three dead racoons and a dead armadillo.
Hundreds of vultures swooped in to feast on all the remains.
Biologists with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s lab in Melbourne responded to the scene Tuesday to gather samples of the fish and sheen-covered water.
“It doesn’t look like gasoline, but it does look like some contaminant,” said John Mongioi, who lives along Turkey Creek and has fought for more than a decade to protect the creek.
“There were well over 1,000 dead catfish,” Mongioi said. “The buzzards are eating them as fast as they can eat them.”
After heavy rains in late September, Palm Bay sent 5.7 million gallons of partially treated sewage into a canal that flows to Turkey Creek.
But there have been no reports of recent sewage spills.
“This is not a nice thing to happen when we don’t know what happened and we don’t know what caused it,” Mongioi said.
Courtesy of Florida Today
DEAD turtles are littering some of the region’s beaches as strong northerly winds bring the carcasses in to shore.
Northerly winds have lashed the region since early last week, pushing the bodies of more than 12 turtles up onto some beaches.
In the sleepy seaside village of Boonooroo in the southern end of the Fraser Coast, resident Kate Cavanagh has spotted an increasing number of the marine reptiles rotting on the sand.
“After finding the first turtle, I received a message from another person from Boonooroo saying they had found a dead turtle near their house,” she said.
“Over these last two weeks there would have to be at least 12 dead turtles that I have seen.”
Ms Cavanagh said most of the animals she had found on the beach were large.
“I have only discovered a small baby turtle and it was long dead,” she said.
After a large turtle was found on a Torquay beach last week, a Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spokeswoman said turtles could die from several causes that were not obvious.
“In addition to boat strikes and predation from other marine animals – causes may include the health of the animal concerned or the availability of food,” she said.
“Prevailing winds and currents can carry stranded marine wildlife to other coastal areas, particularly bays, from wherever the stranding occurred.”
This is a more active time of year as turtles head into their breeding season and take advantage of the seagrass beds around Hervey Bay.