Friday, 17 August, 2018

Red Tide Kills Thousands Of Fish, Marine Life

Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission Credit Mary Harper
Sandy Nunez | 06 August, 2018, 22:40

Wildlife are washing up on Florida beaches and lakes, and it's because of an algae bloom that has lasted nine months.

Mote Marine Laboratory scientists caution that time is of the essence in delivering care to an animal sickened by red tide.

At least 400 sea turtles have died, Newsweek is reporting.

These samples are analyzed for detection and enumeration of Karenia brevis-the species responsible for Florida red tide-along with water quality parameters, phytoplankton community composition, and red tide toxins, officials said. Tissue taken from the whale shark's organs and muscles tested positive for brevetoxin, a neurotoxin created by the algae. Officials documented 287 sea turtle deaths in Gulf of Mexico waters coast since the toxic bloom started in October.

It's also affecting businesses along the coast.

Crews on Florida's Sanibel Island shoveled up and bagged dead fish Thursday as southwest Florida deals with one of the longest red tide outbreaks in years. The toxin affects marine life and causes respiratory irritation in humans and animals. The FWC reports that this recent bloom has been monitored since November.

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It's so bad that Lee County commissioners declared a local state of emergency and need funding to remove the massive amounts of dead fish.

The blooms are killing fish and marine life.

Harvesting of shellfish like clams, oysters or mussels in a Red Tide area is banned.

"It's hard to predict more than a few days out [when it will end]", Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Michelle Kerr told CNN.

More than a dozen people have gone to the emergency room after exposure to the blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria.