Sci-tech

National Weather Service issues red tide warning for SWFL beaches; Collier included

National Weather Service issues red tide warning for SWFL beaches; Collier included

The sparkling white sand of Florida's southwestern beaches aren't dotted with sunbathers this week.

Sea turtles, manatees, fish and other animals are seeing a spike in their mortality rate during 2018, especially in Southwest Florida. Instead, they're strewn with the corpses of dead marine creatures, victims of a red tide.

The cause of these awful scenes: A toxic algal bloom known as red tide. The state's governor has declared a state of emergency.

Social media has been inundated with images of dead animals that failed to escape the toxic bloom washing up on the Gulf of Mexico beaches across Florida.

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission reports that dead fish have been found in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Collier and Monroe counties and include such species as grouper, trout, eel, snook, tarpon, hardhead catfish and assorted baitfish. "It's our entire south Florida coastline with the red tide and then with the blue-green algae on the rivers and canals".

- As dead fish and marine animals continue to pile up on the shores of Southwest Florida beaches, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are asking for help reporting dead and sick animal sightings. Bill Nelson, a Democrat who is being challenged by Scott in the November election, said Thursday that he has asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the potential health impacts of exposure to algae that has spread in waterways along both coasts.

But the bloom is not only risky to marine animals.

For people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, red tide can cause serious illness. "That's due, in part, to having red tide and a very cold winter", said Mezich.


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