JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dead fish are turning up in a canal that feeds into the Ortega River. Their presence worries neighbors who say it's not the first time they've seen this problem.
The canal is located near John Stockton Elementary School on Carlisle Road. Friday afternoon our camera spotted at least two dead fish. But Wednesday, neighbors said there were about five floating in the canal.
"I've smelled dead fish in the past, it happens every once in a while," said David Cressman.
Action News took those concerns to Russell Brodie with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He said they're aware of the problem.
"Having it isolated in a canal usually tends to be a result of low dissolved oxygen," said Brodie.
Brodie believes the cause is likely too much organic material in the canal, like leaves and logs.
"That's one of the reasons we say don't put yard debris directly into the rivers or any of those tributaries that can add to the decomposition and use up the oxygen," said Brodie.
Brodie said that doesn't rule out the presence of toxins or pesticides. He said it's hard to know for sure what killed the fish unless they get a fresh sample and that could be difficult.
"As the fish die they float to the bottom and it's not until several days later, through their own decomposition, that people start seeing them," said Brodie.
A representative with the St. Johns Water Management District reportedly went to the canal Thursday but didn't take a sample because there were no indications of an algal bloom and only one dead fish was spotted.
If you see any dead fish in your area call the marine fish kill hotline at 1-800-636-0511. It's the only way the FWC can keep track of where the fish are turning up.