Red tide continues to wreak havoc on Suncoast beaches and towns, resulting in fish deaths.


According to experts, the newest NOAA satellite data suggests that the red tide bloom offshore is around 50 square miles in size.
Red tide surges Dead fish  on the beach.Photo byGetty Images

SIESTA KEY, FLORIDA: Dead fish have washed up on Sarasota and Manatee counties' Suncoast beaches. For weeks, Florida Department of Health officials has been concerned about high red tide levels in Gulf Coast waterways.

According to authorities, a red tide bloom offshore has continued to expand and has begun to kill off some marine species. Seeing so many dead fish is a troubling sight for people visiting our local beaches. Many are experiencing red tide for the first time, and it is driving some of them away.

"I was walking up to the beach when I noticed all these small dead fish, so I turned back," Kelsey Knapp, a visitor from California, said.

Knapp and a friend had been on a short vacation in the region." From where we're sitting, it's OK, but I can see how it'll get sort of disgusting in a few days," she added. The majority of tourists have heeded the now-weekly red tide warning and avoided the muddy waters. People avoided the sea entirely at Siesta Beach, and the shoreline was overrun by birds nibbling at the dead fish.

"What we're seeing here is a mix of fish from the bay or the Gulf of Mexico," said Dave Tomasko, executive director of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. Catfish, snooks, and eels were among the numerous fish species killed by the red tide.

According to experts, the extent of the red tide map offshore is around 50 square miles wide, based on the most recent satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. They also claimed that the quantity of toxins in the water was ten times more than what was required to kill fish.

"It soon kills almost all of the fish it comes into touch with. In less than a half-hour, a whole bay has gone silent "explained Tomasko. The seashore is not the only location where enormous volumes of fish are being killed as a result of the red tide bloom. Dead fish have also been discovered in several areas' waterways, where they are already washing into backyards.

"You can see large ones [fish], and there are small ones, primarily up on my rocks," says the guide. Mike Koloski of Osprey said it's been difficult to go outside because of the pollutants, and now the fish kill would make backyard outings short and quick since being outside would be intolerable once the decaying processes started.

"This just happened overnight, so it hasn't begun decaying and stinking yet, but I'm expecting it'll become worse in the next couple of days," he remarked.

According to conservationists, red tide cannot be avoided, but pumping less nitrogen into the rivers can decrease its impact."If you don't like red tide, don't exacerbate it. We need to improve our wastewater and storm systems, as well as our wastewater infrastructure, as well as take better care of our mangroves and get more clams and oysters out in our bays "said Tomasko. Meanwhile, other tourists are compelled to deal with the situation or make alternative arrangements that do not involve the beach or rivers.

"We're pleased this is our final day here so we won't have to deal with the worst of it," Jacob Deprez, also from Michigan, said. Dead fish are also washing up on Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach. The next red tide report will be issued on Wednesday.

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