The “red tide” that has affected the southwestern coast of Florida for several days continues today to drag thousands of dead fish to beaches like Sanibel, an island whose waters show the reddish tone characteristic of the flowering of toxic microalgae in some areas. this pollution.
The beach of Golfside City Park Beach, one of the most visited and popular Sanibel, was today sparsely populated, with isolated groups of curious taking photographs of dead fish that accumulate in its white sand forming a sort of meat cord in malodorous decomposition.
Some groups of bathers lying in the sun on this beach were almost indifferent to a phenomenon that, although it is frequent in these coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, this year is reaching abnormal proportions, according to the media and tourists.
The so-called “red tide” is produced by the excess of certain microalgae in the water, which stains it with a reddish hue and fills it with toxins that affect marine life.
At least seven counties on the southwest coast of the Florida peninsula have been affected “persistently” for more than a week by the flowering of the “Karenia brevis,” said the Commission for the Conservation of Fisheries and Wildlife ( FWC) of Florida.
The highest concentration of red tide is recorded in the counties of Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier, but in Pinellas, further north, these toxic microalgae also proliferate.
The intensity of the red tide has prompted the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, today to order two official agencies to mobilize “all available resources” to “minimize” the impact of the red tide on the southwestern coasts of the state and the local communities
“The red tide is being more substantial this year than the previous ones” and, therefore, “we must do everything we can to help reduce the damage to our water and marine life,” Scott said in a statement.
The governor has asked the Commission for the Conservation of Fisheries and Wildlife (FWC) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to initiate initiatives to improve cleanup efforts and gather the support of scientists to “save animals affected by the red tide “.
Thousands of fish, hundreds of turtles and even some manatees have appeared dead on these beaches considered among the best in the world for the quality of its white sands and blue sea.
Aerial images taken this Thursday by channel 13 of the Fox chain showed a semi-desert Siesta Key Beach, one of the favorites of tourists, always at the top of the rankings of the best beaches in the United States, with dead fish on the shore and inside the sea
And on Sanibel beach, cleaning crews with shovels could be seen today to collect the dead fish accumulated on the shore.
This relatively frequent phenomenon off the coast of Florida that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico goes back, Scott said, to the 1940s and “happens almost every year.”
Authorities have warned swimmers that the red tide levels in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico make it unsafe to bathe for now.
Contact with this toxic algae can cause severe eye irritation, persistent coughing and sneezing to humans. EFE