Thousands of dead fish and eels have appeared on the beaches of the southwestern coast of Florida because of the “red tide”, as is known the contamination by a microalga, an ecological crisis with consequences also for tourism.
At least seven counties on the southwest coast of the Florida peninsula have been affected “persistently” for more than a week by the “bloom of the red tide organism ‘Karenia brevis’,” the Conservation Commission said today. of Fish and Wildlife (FWC) of Florida.
The red tide occurs almost annually on these coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and has been a natural phenomenon for centuries, but, according to locals and tourists to the media, it has never been as intense as now.
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.
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 today by channel 13 of the Fox chain show a semi deserted Siesta Key Beach, a favorite of tourists, always at the top of the rankings of best beaches in the United States, with dead fish on the shore and inside the sea
The sea, where you can not see a single swimmer, has a disturbing color between red and brown in the area near the shore that contrasts with the white sands of this beach.
Local media indicated that crews and cleaning trucks are working today on the beaches of the affected counties to eliminate the smelly presence of dead fish, but in that particular video you do not see people performing those tasks.
The vast majority of the dead fish have already been collected, according to local channel 10 News, but authorities have warned swimmers that red tide levels in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico make it unsafe to bathe.
Contact with this toxic algae can cause severe eye irritation, persistent coughing and sneezing to humans.
Flowering can grow or dissipate depending on the nutrients in the water, as well as the speed and direction of the wind, the television channel said.
Experts point out that an excessive amount of nutrients coming from the interior of Florida that through the rivers discharge into the Gulf of Mexico can “make the presence of algae more persistent this year”.
However, he added, “a strong relationship between nutrient pollution and the persistence of the red tide has not been established,” which has concentrations of up to one million organisms of “Karina brevis” per liter of water on the coast. that goes from Sarasota to the south.
The excess of algae absorbs large amounts of oxygen in the water and, as a consequence, destroys marine life by asphyxia, the Naples News-Press reported.
Reports on the red tide of November 2017 accounted for up to 400 stranded and dead turtles on the beaches of Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Sarasota counties, the paper added.
Captain Wayne Genthner, who owns a boat tour company to show the area’s rich marine life, told a local television channel that his hiring for this summer by European tourists has dropped by more than 50%.
“They do not expect to see catfish, tarpons and dead manatees, they come in search of something clean and fun,” he told Local 10.
To the seriousness of the red tide is added the presence of toxic algae resulting from the periodic massive discharges of contaminated water from Lake Okechobee to the rivers and estuaries of the east and west coast of Florida, to avoid their overflow.
Controlled discharges that will not stop until the lake dam is repaired, in South Florida and the largest freshwater in the state, and a reserve for storage and purification of excess water is built. (efeusa)