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Sheepshead fish found with lesions covering body

Posted: 9:58 AM, Mar 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-04 12:29:48Z

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A photo of a sheepshead fish with lesions all over its body was posted on clean water advocacy groups on Facebook Friday night. The fish appears to be missing a lot of the scales around its mouth, too.

The person who posted it said it was found near Punta Rassa. They said they’ve seen more in the area like it.

It was shared on Facebook nearly 700 times in less than 24 hours. And users commented on the photo asking if waste, red tide or toxic algae caused the abnormalities.

Experts said first the fish and the water both have to be tested.

Dr. Greg Tolley who teaches marine science at Florida Gulf Coast University said the fish could have other health issues, but it’s unclear.

“These types of lesions are typically secondary to some other underlying illness or stressor,” he said.

Tolley added it's just too early to determine the cause.