Home > Mass Animal Deaths, Natural Disasters > Florida: Worst Red Tide Outbreak In Years Stretching Nearly 100 Miles Kills Thousands Of Fish, ‘There Were Too Many To Count’

Florida: Worst Red Tide Outbreak In Years Stretching Nearly 100 Miles Kills Thousands Of Fish, ‘There Were Too Many To Count’

By Kate Spinner, Herald Tribune – “The largest red tide bloom to affect Southwest Florida in years stretches nearly 100 miles from Lee County to Pinellas, with reports of fish kills and irritating red-tide air concentrated in Sarasota County.

The widespread nature and intensity of the bloom, strongest off Charlotte Harbor, exceeds a smaller outbreak at this time last year and is the largest to affect the Sarasota area since 2007.

More than seven tons of dead fish have been scooped up from Sarasota County beaches alone — from Casey Key south — in just two days. Beaches were clear at Siesta, Lido, Longboat and farther north.

‘It is a pretty big red tide bloom. If we look at the linear distance along the coast, we’re looking at nearly 100 miles,’ said Alina Corcoran, a research scientist in charge of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service’s harmful algal bloom program. ‘It doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.’

Such blooms can make trips to the beach extremely unpleasant, and even dangerous for pets and people with respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

The algae kills fish and infuses the air with a toxin that makes healthy people cough. People with respiratory illnesses should avoid the beach during red tides.

In Sarasota County, beaches from Casey Key south are getting the worst of the red tide. No effects were reported on the county’s northern beaches, such as Lido, where Bryan Stoothoff was out for an evening jog and John and Sarah Nunn were packing up from a long day in the sun and sand.

John Nunn, on vacation from Kentucky, said Lido was great, but two days ago on Caspersen the beach was so littered with fish that there were too many to count.” Read more.

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