FGCU study on fish kills yields results

Reporter: Emma Heaton
Marine science professor Mike Parsons has worked to study recent fish kills and the affect on red tide. (CREDIT: WINK News)

New research out of Florida Gulf Coast University shows dead fish help to fuel red tide.

The dead fish were turned into fertilizer but not before they were studied.

“The one thing we wanted to look at was are those nutrients available to red tide? How many nutrients are there? And the second part of it would be if they are a significant nutrient source what if we removed them from the water,” said FGCU Professor of marine science Mike Parsons.

The University and Mote Marine Laboratory collected dead fish from Estero Bay and Clearwater Beach to find out the answers.

Two years later, they call the results promising.

“Fish are releasing a significant amount of nutrients and that if we collect the fish and compost the fish, we could actually remove the toxins from the fish so then that fish compost can be used as fertilizer,” Parsons said.

During the height of the 2018 bloom, millions of pounds of dead sea life were removed from beaches monthly.

“It’s kind of just refocusing some things that people have looked at in the past and kind of tying pieces together And really completing the circle with the composting component and using the fish as a fertilizer,” Parsons said.

The next step is to implement this on a much larger scale, Parsons said.

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