Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Red Tide Kills Thousands Of Fish, Marine Life Along Florida’s Southwest Coast

Beaches at Boca Grande have been affected Beaches at Boca Grande have been affected Credit iStock
Sandra Phillips | 06 August, 2018, 22:37

The harmful algae bloom has also been hurting businesses in the area. Those who are looking for spots free of red tide can visit https://visitbeaches.org and myfwc.com/redtidestatus to see which beaches have been affected.

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.

Florida's southwest waterways are now under assault by two different combatants: A red tide bloom from the Gulf of Mexico and a separate toxic algae bloom, which many believe is linked to discharge from Lake Okeechobee.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, almost 300 sea turtles have died since a red tide algae bloom started late past year between Sarasota and Collier counties. The toxin affects marine life and causes respiratory irritation in humans and animals.

WINK Meteorologist Matt Devitt posted on Facebook about some of the devastation.

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Mote Marine Laboratory scientists caution that time is of the essence in delivering care to an animal sickened by red tide.

"Pictures are recent and within July, most from Lee County", he wrote.

Also this week, a manatee in distress from exposure to red tide in southwest Florida was taken to SeaWorld Orlando for rehabilitation.

The state wildlife agency says red tide, a type of algae, has been a naturally occuring phenomenon along Florida's Gulf Coast since at least the 1840s and that blooms occur almost every year in the Gulf of Mexico.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working to release some of the toxic water from the lake.

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