Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Dead fish, red tide, plague Florida tourists, beaches

Dead fish, red tide, plague Florida tourists, beaches

The sparkling white sand of Florida's southwestern beaches aren't dotted with sunbathers this week.

Dozens of sea turtles are also turning up dead.

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday said he directed state agencies "to mobilize all available resources to address red tide impacts in Southwest Florida's coastal communities".

Crews on Florida's Sanibel Island shoveled up and bagged dead fish Thursday as southwest Florida deals with one of the longest red tide outbreaks in years.

Red tide is the name given to the blooms of a species of microorganisms that have a distinct red colour.

"Many people will tell you that this is the worst they have ever seen", Jacylin Bevis, a reporter with the NBC affiliate in Fort Myers, Florida, told NBC News. FWC arrived and is helping to transport the manatee to SeaWorld in Orlando, where it will be treated and monitored until it can be released back into the wild.


While biologists are still working to determine the cause of death, if the algae bloom did play a role, it would be the first known incident in which a whale shark has been killed by a bloom.

Harvesting of shellfish like clams, oysters or mussels in a Red Tide area is banned.

But the bloom is not only unsafe to marine animals.

The toxin in red tide is dispersed into the air when bubbles in sea foam pop, Fanara said.

Toxic freshwater algae blooms started inland at Lake Okeechobee.

The bloom is an annual event in the waters around Florida and it usually breaks up with the wind and tide; but according to local reports, the current bloom has lasted for up to nine months and has killed more marine life than usual.

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