Fish With Large Tumor on Its Head Found in Florida's Indian River Lagoon

Categories: Animal Planet

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A fish caught in Palm City over the weekend has been the focus of concerned environmentalists and scientists in recent days.

Mainly because the fish has a giant pinkish tumor jutting out of the side of its head.

Needless to say, a fish being caught in local waters with what basically amounts to a second face growing out of it is not normal and is more evidence that Florida's waters are basically screwed.

See also: "River Warriors" Organize to Fight Lake Okeechobee Pollution

The fish, a sheepshead, was caught in Bessey Creek, in Palm City, just south of the C-23 canal.

A photo of the sheepshead fish with the large lesion has surfaced and caught the eye of Mark Perry of the Florida Oceanographic Society.

Perry, who says the likely -- and most obvious -- culprit of the lesion is from pollution, has pointed out that this isn't the first time a sheepshead with a growth on its skin has been caught in these waters.

Mark Perry with the Florida Oceanographic Society says it's likely the tumor formed when something in the water chemistry affected the fish's skin.

"It's pretty much an indicator that something is going on," says Perry.

Specifically, Perry says that there are at least eight documented instances in the past 30 years in which 33 species of fish have been pulled out of the water with tumors on them.

Perry is asking anyone who happens to catch a fish with a lesion to take a photo of it so he and other environmentalists can add it to their records.

Overall, Indian River Lagoon has been a perfect storm of pollutants and misery for sea life, including 47,000 acres of sea grass beds, 111 manatees, and 300 pelicans last year alone.

The area has also been responsible for massive bottlenose dolphin deaths.

Meanwhile, Rick Scott has done more harm than good for water conservation programs in Florida, as New Times reported last year.

Among the culprits scientists believe have been saturating Indian River Lagoon with deadly toxins are climate change, salt level changes, and fertilizer-laced stormwater runoff.

Scientists and environmentalists also believe that polluted water dumped from Lake Okeechobee by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has damaged the area.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.

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4 comments
Alex Johnson
Alex Johnson

wow, i didn't know that any fish, dolphins, or manatees were still alive in the Indian River !

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

With all the crap thats in the water and NOW they wonder if something is going on?

Shannon Stout
Shannon Stout

There are always fish with tumors. I visited my aunt-in-law at Smithsonian in 1992 and she showed us a bunch. It matters why the fish has a tumor.

DirtyLiving
DirtyLiving

It's baffling when rightwingers condemn environmentalists.   Environmentalism is Humanism.   

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