Hordes of dead juvenile fish on SMB

A large number of dead fish – mainly juveniles – were found Wednesday along the waterline of Cayman’s Seven Mile
Beach.

 “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 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,” he said. “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.”

The fish appeared
to be filefish fry about 2-3cm long, possibly white-spotted filefish. 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.