Biscayne Bay dead zone alert: Experts report fish kill is mainly around 2 canal discharge areas

Natalia Datorre reported she stepped out into her backyard facing Biscayne Bay Thursday in Miami Beach and was hit with a “dead fish” smell.

MIAMI – Natalia Datorre reported she stepped out into her backyard facing Biscayne Bay Thursday in Miami Beach and was hit with a “dead fish” smell.

Datorre, who lives in North Beach’s Biscayne Point area, reported finding dozens of dead flounder, toadfish, and other species to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“I called FWC fish kill line and the gentleman explained that oxygen levels should be 7, fish begin to die at 5 and this part of the bay is now below 1. Sad to see Miami like this,” Datorre wrote.

Experts reported Thursday in Miami-Dade County that the fish kill was in Biscayne Bay’s northern basin — mostly in the discharge areas of canal C-8 off Miami Shores, across from North Beach, and C-7 off Little River, near North Bay Village.

Researchers with Miami Waterkeeper, a nonprofit organization, sounded the alarm on Wednesday about a fish kill in Biscayne Bay.

The Department of Environmental Resources Management announced a government contractor is working with local officials from Miami to Miami Beach to remove the dead fish and a team is analyzing water quality.

“Our Bay is very fragile, from decades of neglect and climate change,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement.

DERM is considering other culprits: The heavy rains that impacted the watershed last week, the pumping activities associated with the King tides, and this weekend’s sanitary sewer overflow event.

Florida International University and University of Miami researchers are collecting water samples and sharing data with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to DERM.

Investigations continue Thursday into the cause of the latest fish kill in Biscayne Bay.

Levine Cava also said the septic-to-sewer transition and the water infrastructure upgrades are among the pollution reduction policies that her administration is taking to protect the bay.

“It will take years to reverse the damage,” Levine Cava said in her statement.

Irela Bague, Miami-Dade County’s chief bay officer, was alarmed on Wednesday.

“It’s basically nature screaming out for help and we are doing everything we can,” Bague said.

DERM is asking anyone who wants to report dead fish to call 305-372-6955 and to e-mail any video or pictures of the dead fish to

Florida Department of Environmental Protection investigators joined the effort to identify the culprit of the ongoing fish kill in Biscayne Bay.

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.