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Hundreds of snook spotted floating dead off Boca Grande

Posted at 11:11 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-22 06:30:37-04

A charter captain says he say hundreds of dead fish while taking clients out on Wednesday.

"It was the largest amount of dead fish I have ever seen in my career,” said Rhett Morris, of Beyond Borders Outfitters.

Morris has been a charter captain for more than 20 years.

"This is what makes this red tide event so scary, is these snook are getting wiped out right now and they are all full of eggs."

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission fish kills can be caused by algae blooms cutting off oxygen below the surface.  But Morris says red tide is unusual this late in the year, and they’ve gotten worse over the past few years.

He blames Lake Okeechobee water releases, but also says Floridians are too blame, especially ones of fertilize their lawn.

"As soon as we get rain, we had 13 inches of rain before the month of May ended, and that is excessive, and that flushes that top level of fertilizer straight into the water."

Morris says lately some of his charter customers have come back empty handed because most of the fish are dying and he worries about what that will do to his bottom line.

"I've been a full time captain, I've never done any thing else since I was 18, this all I've got, and I'm extremely concerned."

Rhett also blames poor water management practices by the state for contributing to the problem.