Brown tide returns to Indian River Lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon currently is experiencing another round of algae blooms known as brown tide, resulting in the killing of thousands of fish as well as hurting the ecosystem and impacting the local economy.

“In the canals, there are dead fish everywhere, and the algae bloom is hurting the fishing,” sophomore, Ben Burgess said. “The lack of oxygen in the water isn’t only killing the game fish, but it’s killing all the bait too.”

The blooms are a result of the use of pesticides and fertilizers that contain phosphorus and nitrogen. Those chemicals wash into the lagoon and the high concentrations promote algae growth which decreases the amount of dissolved oxygen fish need to survive.

“Lately the river has smelled really bad from the algae bloom. I haven’t been able to go boating because the water is filled with so many pesticides and all of the dead fish,” freshman Allison Richards said.

The 2016 brown algae bloom was the worst on record and but the lagoon now is reaching similar levels.

“I remember how bad it got in 2016, and I’ve heard that this algae bloom may even be worse than the last, which I hope isn’t the case,” Richards said.

The climate in Brevard County produces warmer water which holds less oxygen, making the fish kill even worse. The Indian River Lagoons’ ecosystem becomes more damaged each time algae blooms occur and people fear that not only will it affect their river days but how it will affect the economy as well.

“My family has avoided going to restaurants on the river just because of the smell,” Richards said. “This will eventually hurt those businesses on the river and some might even be forced to shut down.”

By Jessica Marzano