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Recent fish kills a concerning nuisance to Charlotte County community

Homeowners in a Charlotte County neighborhood report dead fish are popping up in a canal behind their homes. The say it’s been happening for days, causing a strong, off-putting odor to linger near them. We looked into what’s the cause is for this local fish kill near neighbors.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating recent fish kills within a canal in the South Gulf Cove community in Charlotte County Monday.

“There is a giant carp,” neighbor Catherine Trudeau said. “And I am guessing it is close to 30 inches. It is the biggest fish that I’ve seen out here.”

And that fish was confirmed to be a whopping 36 inches in length. Unfortunately, it’s not living fish seen by Trudeau and other neighbors along Appleton Boulevard in South Gulf Cove, an unwanted sight by all.

“We had no idea why there’s so many dead fish floating in the canal,” neighbor Edie Bentley said.

“It’s a stinky, dead, kind of almost like a dead rat smell,” Trudeau said. “But, you know, it’s the fish.”

The dead fish smell is unwanted, and it’s attracting unwelcome visitors to the community.

“I started noticing that the birds were coming in, the seagulls, which is very unusual,” Trudeau said.

Neighbors say they saw Charlotte County workers riding through the canal a few weeks back.

“They came through here, and they were spraying,” Bentley said. “I’m not sure if there was a correlation between the two.”

But the county said it uses environmentally friendly sprays. County officials did point to the recent colder temperatures as a cause for changing oxygen levels in the water, which can impact the fish.

As mentioned by Trudeau, the dead fish could be among the 2,000 carp released into Charlotte County waters last week to help clean canal vegetation. County workers believe 10% to 15% of the carp died during transport. But our crew saw more than one kind of fish species dead in the neighborhood canal.

FWC encourages anyone who spots dead fish to report it through its fish kill hotline.

“I am not sure what all is going on, but something is not right here,” Trudeau said.

MORE: FWC – Fish Kills and Fish Kill Hotline

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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