Chain gang joins effort to remove thousands of dead, rotting fish

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — As thousands of dead, rotting fish piled up along the Banana and Indian rivers, residents, volunteers and a chain gang from the Brevard County Jail worked to clean up the mess.

Biologists were working to determine an exact cause for the massive fish kill, which residents started to notice Friday as fish washed onto shores by the hundreds.

Several groups were working together to remove the fish and the ensuing stench, including Brevard County government, the Sheriff’s Office, the Saint Johns River Water Management District and Keep Brevard Beautiful.

“We understand that this has become a public nuisance,” Brevard County spokesman Don Walker said. “From the calls we were getting, (we made) a concerted effort to see what type of organization we could put together to help eradicate some of these fish.”

The county provided several dumpsters at Kelly Park East, Kiwanis Island Park, Constitution Bicentenial Park, the POW/MIA Park and the Eau Gallie Causeway boat ramp to help residents’ cleanup efforts.

“We don’t necessarily want people to go into the water to collect fish, but between our efforts and whatever efforts Mother Nature takes naturally, we’re hoping a big part of this problem will begin to dissipate,” Walker said.