LKGA Continues to Provide Monitoring Tools and Captained-Vessel Support Following Unusual Fish Behavior Event

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Members of the Key West and Lower Keys Fishing Guides Association (dba Lower Keys Guides Association or LKGA) started observing unusual fish behaviors in the Lower Keys in November 2023. Shortly thereafter, LKGA established an online Observation Form that was added to our website, encouraging members of our organization or anyone in the community witnessing unusual fish behavior, fish kills, water discoloration, and even navigational hazards to report it using the report form. To date, we’ve received dozens of reports from our fishing guides as well as the local community.

In early 2024, our trusted scientific partner, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), initiated a multi-institution collaboration consisting of scientific organizations, academic institutions and government agencies conducting various research, sampling, and monitoring of the unusual fish behavior. LKGA and our captains have provided boat and navigational knowledge/expertise in assisting with multiple mass sample collections and observations as requested by partnering institutions. LKGA is committed to continue to provide vessel and local navigational expertise to institutions and agencies needing ongoing support. We continue to rely heavily on scientific partners like BTT to provide sound scientific oversight of ongoing research, translate future findings, and recruit other research partners to help identify sources, causes, appropriate actions, and possible solutions. We are also working closely with and assisting our partners at Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and Florida Department of Environment Protection.

The Lower Keys Guides Association encourages the community to report all unusual fish behavior to the LKGA Observation Form on our website and/or the FWC Fish Kill Hotline. Continued reports from the guides and local community is of utmost importance as we continue to track activities in affected areas, understand the persistence of the behavior over time, in identifying new or changing areas for sampling/research and seek funding for additional research and restoration in both the short and long term.

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