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FWC

Sawfish in Florida are 'spinning, whirling' before they die. Researchers look for answers.

The smalltooth sawfish is incredibly endangered, but a new, bizarre behavior is leading up to their deaths.

Researchers perform necropsy on sawfish.

Fish in South Florida are dying after displaying abnormal "spinning and whirling" behavior.

According to a from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the endangered 's odd behavior is leaving scientists baffled. They spin and while in areas around the Florida Keys before they mysteriously die, and researchers don't know why.

"Based on fish necropsy data to date, there are no signs of a communicable pathogen, and specimens were negative for bacterial infection," the statement says.

The FWC says that it does not suspect the cause has a link to oxygen levels of the water either.

Researchers are currently collecting and analyzing the water the fish are in and tissue samples. They are also trying to recover the endangered sawfish's carcasses for necropsies.

The FWC is studying the small-scale fish mortalities in collaboration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and other organizations and universities, including the University of Alabama.

So far, the FWC has sent the university 52 fish and 12 smalltooth sawfish for analysis.

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Florida fish deaths: You can help researchers in their investigation

The FWC says reports from the public are essential to its investigation.

It asks people to report sightings of healthy, sick, injured or dead sawfish to FWC’s Sawfish Hotline, 844-472-9347, or email Sawfish@myfwc.com.

In their report, people should include the following:

  • The date they say the fish
  • Time
  • Location of the encounter
  • stimated length of the fish
  • Water depth
  • Any other information related to the sighting

The FWC also asks folks to report fish behavior, fish disease, or fish kills to FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline, 800-636-0511

Julia is a trending reporter for ˽ýӳ. She has covered various topics, from local businesses and government in her hometown, Miami, to tech and pop culture.You can follow her on,and: @juliamariegz.

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