LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A Cape Coral man made quite the find in a local canal. He thought it was a manatee floating in the water, but when he got closer, he realized it was a dead goliath grouper.
Daniel Armendariz and his friend Sam Harmon pulled the almost 500 pound grouper from the water and called state wildlife officials.
Florida Fish and Wildlife came out to takes samples of the massive fish, which Armendariz says couldn't have been dead for long. As a longtime fisherman he's concerned that releases of fresh water from Lake Okeechobee could have something to do with the grouper's death. "Lately we've been hearing a lot of excuses that Lake O isn't the cause, but at the same time, they haven't gave us a reason for the cause. And coming from a fisherman that's been fishing here for the past 13 years steady, I've noticed in the past 5, 6 years the devastation."
FWC finished collecting samples to determine if red tide was a factor. They won't be looking at other toxins; that will be the responsibility for other agencies.
The men say they were asked to gut the fish, tow it back out into the river and leave it there. It could be a few weeks before wildlife officials determine what the grouper died from.
We'll be sure to let you know what they find.