‘You can’t go to the beach’: Florida’s gulf coast lined with thousands of dead fish from red tide
VENICE, Fla. (Gray News/TMX) – Tens of thousands of dead fish are washing up on southwest Florida beaches due to red tide, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
A video posted to Facebook by Dawn Workman Lansing showed numerous dead fish washed up in Venice on Thursday. They ranged in size from very small to what appeared to be a goliath grouper, which can weigh up to 800 pounds.
Red tide is a type of harmful algal bloom that occurs when colonies of algae grow out of control and produce toxins that can kill marine life, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Red tide can also cause human illnesses or make the air near the water difficult to breathe.
“It is March and we have a terrible fish kill from red tide going on the Gulf Coast of Florida. From Venice all the way up past St. Pete/Clearwater,” Lansing wrote in her Facebook post alongside the video. “The air quality is so terrible. You can’t go to the beach. Help us the state of Florida. How can we be the best if we can’t breathe, enjoy our beaches or have visitors enjoy them?”
The FWC collects water samples daily to measure concentrations of the red tide organism, called Karenia brevis. On March 8, FWC reported high concentrations of the algae in multiple southwestern counties, including Sarasota County, which includes Venice.
According to the FWC, fish kills and respiratory irritation suspected to be related to red tide have been reported in multiple counties, including Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Collier and Monroe.
Copyright 2023 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. TMX contributed to this report.