FLORIDA (CNN) – It’s a stomach-churning sight.
Jason Blair, a fisherman who organized a recent protest at Lake Okeechobee, believes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s aquatic spraying program is destroying the lake’s vegetation and causing fish to suffer from tumors.
“A lot of us tournament anglers fish for largemouth bass out here on the lake,” Blair said.
But now the catch-of-the-day is catching his attention for reasons that he says are terrifying.
“Week after week, day after day, we’re pulling out damage fish with tumors and burn marks on their sides and it’s just a terrible thing,” said Blair. “Tumors on a fish is definitely unusual and something I have not seen before until the last couple of months in these heavily sprayed areas.”
Blair — who’s planning to protest FWC believes the agency’s chemical spraying on Lake Okeechobee is to blame.
“They’re out here everyday spraying, spraying, spraying and all that stuff is coating the bottom of the lake with muck and mud,” Blair said.
But FWC officials say herbicide spraying is needed to control the spread of non-native invasive plants.
As for the deformed fish FWC tells CBS 12 News:
“Lesions in fish are not uncommon and are often caused naturally by secondary infections as a result of a physical injury.”
Florida Congressman Brian Mast weighed in on the chemical spraying
He said if we wouldn’t put it in the bathtub with our children — it doesn’t belong in our waterways.