|KEEP AN EYE ON IT: Scientists discovered wild redfish in Florida with cataracts.|
Earlier this year scientists found cataracts, a disease that infects the lens of the eye and can cause loss of vision, in almost every redfish stocked at the Port Manatee hatchery on Tampa Bay. And as many as 50 percent of the baby redfish in Sanibel's REDstart facility were diseased. In addition to the diseased hatchery fish, samplings of wild redfish in Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor and the St. Lucie Estuary also found cataracts. Scientists at the Florida Fish & Wildlife Research Institute do not usually screen hatchery or wild fish for cataracts, so they are unsure how widespread the problem is or how long it has existed. For information, visit www.myfwc.com.