Published: Aug 06, 2012 4:10 PM EDT

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Charlotte County Sheriff's Bill Cameron reported that over 5,400 catfish were killed in the retention pond fish farm over the weekend located in front of the Charlotte County Jail. Deputies observed the dead fish Sunday and a massive cleanup program by several inmates began early this morning. The fish were netted out of the cages, put into a large dumpster and hauled away.

Sheriff Cameron said, “Charlotte County Government sub-contracted a company to clean the jail roof and at this time it is unknown what chemicals were used, but it appears whatever they used was responsible for the fish kill. The water used in the roof cleaning process drained into the retention pond and killed all the catfish in the cages, as well as native fish in the County stocked pond. There were also some dead fingerling catfish in the growing tanks that gets its water from the pond.”

The jail is a Charlotte County facility issue and calls should be directed to Facilities Director David Milligan at 941-743-1394 for further information about the fish kill.