Red tide, dead fish plague tourists

Thousands of fish and several manatees have washed up dead because of red tide.

This August 3 footage shows a glimpse of one of Sanibel's beaches, and the filmer identifies a number of creatures who have washed up to die, including flounder, mackerel and horseshoe crabs.

FWC marine turtle biologist Robbin Trindell says the increased number is due, in part, to the red tide affecting numerous beaches where the turtles nest during the summer time.

The newspaper, calling the algae outbreak a "crisis", says the suspected cause of death is red tide poisoning.

More than a dozen people have gone to the emergency room after exposure to the blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. "We will continue to support Florida's biologists to study the best ways to combat red tide, and our state wildlife and environmental professionals will aid Florida communities that are being impacted".

"It's hard to predict more than a few days out [when it will end]", Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Michelle Kerr told CNN.

Algal blooms can start about 40 miles offshore and come to the surface with rising water. Currents may push the blooms to shore and chemical conditions on the shoreline can help the algae sustain itself. "That's due, in part, to having red tide and a very cold winter", said Mezich. The toxin affects marine life and causes respiratory irritation in humans and animals.

"FWC and DEP will enhance cleanup efforts, public awareness initiatives and water testing to ensure that Floridians understand the best ways to minimize the impact of red tide", a press release added. The algae bloom - which gets its name because the microscopic algae often turn water red - has already lasted since November of previous year, and could stretch into 2019, some scientists are saying.

  • Joe Gonzales