Toll from worst S.W. Florida red tide in decade grows

James Marshall
August 6, 2018

Wildlife are washing up on Florida beaches and lakes, and it's because of an algae bloom that has lasted nine months.

"FWC will deploy additional scientists to assist local efforts to save animals affected by the naturally occurring red tide".

These samples are analyzed for detection and enumeration of Karenia brevis-the species responsible for Florida red tide-along with water quality parameters, phytoplankton community composition, and red tide toxins, officials said. At least 90 sea turtles have been found stranded as the tide stretches well into nesting season. Dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and even a whale shark have washed ashore in southern Florida.

Tourists weren't scattered on beaches in southwest Florida on Thursday, but hundreds of dead fish were.

Lee County has paired with private contractors to begin removing dead fish from its beaches, but officials warned that it could be a long and ongoing process. 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. "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". Higher than normal concentrations are called blooms and the toxins in them can kill fish, crabs, and other marine life.

Usually, cold spells break up or kill off some of the algae, but not this time.

Red tide blooms produce toxic chemicals that can affect both marine organisms and humans.

More than a dozen people have gone to the emergency room after exposure to the blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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