Summer heat isn't just rough on us, it's frequently just as tough on fish in our Louisiana waters.

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According to an article from the Louisiana Radio Network, again this summer, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking for help should you spot a fish kill.

LDWF Inland Fisheries Technical Advisor Robby Maxwell said, “If you see dead fish in public waters please report them. Call your local district fisheries office and just report what you’re seeing, where you are and how many dead fish there are and we will respond to it in an appropriate manner.”

There are a number of reasons for massive fish kills this time of year, including chemical spills and algae blooms, but the number one killer, according to Maxwell, is low oxygen levels in the water due to high temperatures.

Still shot from YouTube video by Australian Academy of Science
Still shot from YouTube video by Australian Academy of Science

How Does A Fish Kill Happen?

Robby Maxwell explains how this type of weather can be fatal for fish.  “Warm water carries less oxygen than cooler water so it’s real easy to kinda’ tip the scales over and get to the position where we’re in an anoxic or hypoxic condition and aquatic organisms generally need to breathe oxygen from the water.”

LDWF further explains, "Here’s what’s happening. Warm water has a lower carrying capacity for dissolved oxygen than cool water, creating an already delicate balance between oxygen-producing and oxygen-consuming aquatic life in waterbodies.

When something alters that delicate balance, the scales can easily tip in the wrong direction and cause a hypoxic (low oxygen) fish kill."

In this video from the Australian Academy of Science, we see exactly what they mean.

According to Maxwell, seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of dead or dying fish, is pretty disturbing.

It's Best Not To Eat The Fish Dying From A Fish Kill

“When people usually see fish kills the fish are usually bloated, you see them gasping and they’re floating on the top and they are starting to rot. I generally wouldn’t eat them. There always is a chance that it could be related to pollution, spill, or something else.”

Should you see a "fish kill", especially on Louisiana public waters, LDWF is asking that you report it immediately.

Just go to the special "fish kill" page on the LDWF website.

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