Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Research | By Francis Brooks

Red Tide Kills Thousands Of Fish, Marine Life Along Florida’s Southwest Coast

Red Tide Kills Thousands Of Fish, Marine Life Along Florida’s Southwest Coast

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

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.

The Florida red tide organism, known as Karenia Brevis, produces brevetoxins that can affect the central nervous system of fish and other vertebrates, causing these animals to die. The county has also provided dumpster sites for residents as far south as Bonita Springs to dispose of dead fish. However, there has yet to be a firm link established between nutrient pollution and the severity of red tide, according to Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.

Scott directed the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to "mobilize all available resources" to address impacts in Southwest Florida.

The cause of these awful scenes: A toxic algal bloom known as red tide. FWC arrived and is helping to transport the manatee to SeaWorld in Orlando, where it will be treated and monitored until it can be released back into the wild.

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

FWC says the muscle of crab, shrimp and lobster are not affected by Red Tide toxins.

To humans, breathing in air containing the toxic algae can cause people to suffer from tearing eyes and frequent coughing and sneezing.

Toxic freshwater algae blooms started inland at Lake Okeechobee.

A bloom of red tide algae has swept in from Naples to Tampa, killing marine life and tourism in its path.

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