Visit Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands of Southwest Florida, the Everglades

Bizarre Fish Behavior in the Florida Keys

Everglades City

A mysterious phenomenon is unfolding in the Florida Keys that could have ripple effects reaching our shores. Recently, reports of distressed fish and bizarre behavior have flooded in, leaving scientists baffled and locals concerned about the health of our waters.

In early November, sightings of sick fish emerged, initially resembling symptoms of freshwater fish infected with parasites – spinning or flopping upside down in a whirling pattern. As daytime sightings increased, guides and researchers began investigating, collecting samples and testing the water for potential culprits.

By January, testing ruled out common causes like red tide and extreme temperatures. Attention turned to elevated levels of a tiny algae known to produce ciguatera toxin, which can sicken humans who consume affected fish. However, identifying the toxin poses a significant challenge due to its potency at small concentrations.

Despite focusing on ciguatera toxin, researchers acknowledge other factors may contribute to the fish deaths. The recent ocean heat wave in the region adds another layer of concern, leaving coral reefs bleached and vulnerable.

As scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of South Florida’s waters, it’s clear the health of our marine ecosystem is intricately linked to human well-being. Residents are urged to report sightings of distressed fish to the state fish kill hotline at 800-636-0511 or online at

More details can be found on the BoneFish & Tarpon Trust website at

Bizarre Fish Behavior in the Florida Keys from the Mullet Rapper on Visit Everglades City
2024-04-01T13:39:45-04:00April 6, 2024|Fishing, News, Wildlife|

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