The recent cold snap has been more than just an inconvenience for Floridians. It’s been tough on fish and potentially hazardous to flights at MacDill Air Force Base.
The National Weather Service says temperatures in early January fell to as low as 35 degrees on Jan. 5 and 40 degrees three days earlier. As a result, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has received more than 110 calls as of Jan. 11 about fish kills across the state, according to spokeswoman Kelly Richmond.
Popular game fish like snook, jack crevalle and pompano are particularly susceptible to death and disease as a result of the cold, said Richmond.
But the folks at MacDill had concerns beyond the cost to the environment.
The more fish die, the more that scavengers like vultures show up to feed on the carcasses. The more vultures, the greater the chance flight operations will be affected.
Base wildlife biologists estimate around 1,000 fish, mostly tilapia and some snook, died as a result of the sudden temperature change.