The likely cause of an extensive fish kill seen from Bon Secour to Daphne this spring has been found. Officials with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Marine Resources Division say it was not a widespread viral infection, but rather a fungus, Aphanomyces invadens, that killed thousands of fish along the Eastern Shore.
Some of the weakened or dead fish exhibited Mycobacterium (evidenced by red lesions) on the skin, but nothing unusual in their internal organs.
According to the agency, temperature changes along with a freshwater spike from local and upstate rains temporarily altered the ecosystem in Mobile Bay. More than 7.5 inches of rain fell along the Alabama coast in late March and nearly 3 inches fell one day in April. Flash flooding and heavy runoff were the result of both storms.