'Really sad, sickening': Residents on Indian River Lagoon concerned over thousands of dead fish washing ashore

Another fish kill blanketed backyards for homeowners on the Indian River Lagoon. This kill happened in Indialantic just over the Melbourne Causeway over the weekend. Longtime homeowners say, they haven’t seen thousands of dead fish before, and they’re worried about water quality in the lagoon.

Since the initial discovery, the tide washed away a lot of the dead fish but on Monday, there was still a strong smell of decay and swarms of flies. 

"It was really sad, and it was really sickening," said Kristine Henry who was one of the first to spot the kill while walking her dogs early Sunday morning. 

She was devastated seeing thousands of dead fish, crabs, and stingrays floating in the lagoon. Henry's lived on the water in Indialantic for 20 years but has never seen this much death in her backyard.

 "I would never let my grandkids get in this water, you know. It used to be clear. We have a nice little beach, but it doesn’t look like a nice little beach with a lot of dead fish," she added. 

Fish kills are common when the water is this warm and algae blooms are intensifying. 

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"There’s less oxygen in the summer months to begin with and so when you add on top of that all of this decaying algal biomass, that can quickly lead to these events," said Austin Fox, an assistant professor at Florida Tech in the Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences department. 

He studies the lagoon and how to restore the waterway. 

"These limited fish kills – it’s something that I expect to see in the summer when it’s so hot, when we have the algae blooms going on but I don’t think it’s a sign the whole lagoon is dying," he added. 

"I think it’s really disgusting and sad for them," Henry said. She took to social media to warn others and says the community is concerned and wants to see more measures in place to help the ailing lagoon. 

Living on the lagoon, she’s already eliminated pesticides and fertilizers in her backyard and hopes others will join her to help the lagoon and stop shorelines from rotting with dead fish.