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Fish Die-Off Investigated

A large number of dead fish fry were found over several miles of southern and central Seven Mile Beach.

Department of Environment staff responded to reports of a large number of dead fish along the waterline on Seven Mile Beach on Wednesday, 23 June.

"Despite the large number of dead fish observed over several miles on southern and central Seven Mile Beach we do not suspect that there is a systemic environmental problem at this time," said Mr. John Bothwell, Senior Research Officer with the Department of Environment.

"Though we do not yet know what caused this die-off, we haven't found any other marine species that have been affected and so it is more likely some temporary environmental change that killed the large school of juvenile fish. Because of their extreme juvenile stage even a small natural change could have caused the die-off and we will probably never know its source," he explained.

The fish appeared to all be filefish fry about 2-3cm long, possibly white-spotted filefish, but because of their young stage of development the Department is unable to identify the species with certainly.

Sample fish were taken and have been preserved for possible future examination. The Department has also posted a request for information on possible causes and assistance with identification of the species on the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.

Department staff have checked other coastlines around the Cayman Islands and seen no other incidences of a fish die-off but the public can report any new sightings of large numbers of dead fish to the department at 949-8469 or www.DoE@gov.ky.