Keith Lusher 06.30.23
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has put the public on notice about the dangers that soaring summertime temperatures impose on the inshore fisheries across Louisiana.
In order to better understand the effects of hypoxia, LDWF is stressing the importance of reporting fish kills to the Department by following the instructions on their fish kill webpage.
During the summer months of June, July, and August, the water warms sometimes to temperatures as high as 90 degrees. 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.
Louisiana has seen its first fish kill as residents of a neighborhood in Prairieville reported a massive amount of dead freshwater fish floating on the surface of their neighborhood pond. Daytime temperatures upwards of 99 degrees this past week are to blame for the oxygen loss in the pond.
The Department said aeration of ponds, if possible, can help to alleviate hypoxic conditions and aid in the decomposition process after fish kills occur.
While ponds are most at risk, there have been instances where inland waterways are affected. While only in June, there is satellite imagery that already shows an algae bloom in Lake Pontchartrain that has started to affect the water.
While fish kills are often caused by natural events there are man-made instances like chemical run-off which are to blame. LDWF asks that all fish kills be reported to them so biologists can investigate and document the kill as soon as possible. For information on how to report a fish kill or more information about the causes of fish kills, visit LDWF’s fish kill webpage.