Below is a piece I wrote looking at different perspectives on the recent fish kills of Florida's Space Coast. Some people, who never even saw the fish, said it was probably bycatch from shrimpers or possibly red tide. What they didn't take into account — as people like me witnessed were the thousands of items ranging from coffee to boxes of wine to industrial cleaners and disinfectants that washed up along the beaches in the days following. They had fallen overboard in containers on a barge headed to the Caribbean somewhere off Port Canaveral.
The state's response was underwhelming, with the fish kill office on the West Coast not communicating with FWC biologists on the ground here. The Coast Guard was a joke. They didn't have any idea what was in the containers or what or how much had gone overboard. Most household disinfectants and cleaners — in fact likely 3/4 of the stuff under your sink or in your garage — is lethal to aquatic life.
But by the time anybody took action, whatever caused the kill had dissipated. In talking with oceanographer Mitch Roffer, it seems likely that the containers were lost in an area with some structure (artificial reefs or wrecks), and a large shoal of thread herring were the victims — think dumping bleach in a baitwell.
The takeaway from all this? People need to become familiar with the term "cargo spill." Because that's what this was; just like an oil spill, only 25 or 30 twenty foot containers were spilled. And we'll likely never know exactly what.
But like No Fill, No Kill's Alex Gorichky said, we might as well get used to it. This was one ship passing in the night. If the Canaveral Port Authority continues to turn a deaf ear to constituents in the five districts as well as residents around Brevard and into Central Florida, we're going to have many more "cargo spills" in our future.
I have included a PDF of the story. You can find it in the print edition of Florida Today. It was posted online and even promoted by the paper on it's Facebook feed. But now it seems to have gone missing.