'Red tide' blamed for whale shark, turtle, dolphin carcasses on Florida beaches

07 August, 2018, 05:41 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Red tide algae bloom killing marine life off Florida coast

They say almost 300 sea turtles have died since the toxic bloom began in the fall, that's about double the average number.

"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.

Now red tide is causing additional wildlife to wash up on beach shores and begin rotting.

WINK-TV News meteorologist Matt Devitt posted images on his Facebook page of fish, stingrays, manatees, turtles and a whale shark that had died.

Most algae blooms are beneficial to the ocean, providing a source of food for marine creatures.

The harmful algae bloom has also been hurting businesses in the area.

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The aggressive overgrowth, which occurs each year but intensifies with high temperatures, pollution and stagnant water, has become unusually strong since emerging in November and has stretched into the longest outbreak since 2006, according to state wildlife officials.

Respiratory irritation and murky clumps of red drift algae have been reported from Collier to Sarasota counties on Florida's west coast, which is usually known for its stunning beaches.

In a report on Wednesday, they wrote: "We continue to receive reports of fish kills in Southwest Florida".

A wind shift is likely what caused the thousands of dead fish to wash ashore on normally pristine Sanibel Island this past weekend.

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

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