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589 #turtles, 824 #manatees, 127 #dolphins dead during past 16 months, due to red tide, in #Florida, #USA

Preliminary data from FWC showed that the 824 manatee deaths in 2018 from both red tide, sickness and human-related causes surpassed the previous record of 803 set during another red tide outbreak in 2013.

Because of the partial U.S. government shutdown, NOAA has not provided updates for dolphins on its UME website. Dolphin strandings spiked in August and November, but have begun to slow down as red tide shows signs of weakening along the Southwest Florida coast.

Few experienced the gruesome first-hand effects of red tide more than turtle patrol participants, who wore masks and scarves to check turtle crawls following hatching during nesting season, May through October.

Don MacAulay of Englewood said he felt the effects of the airborne toxins — a nearly 150-mile by 20-mile wide bloom at its peak — driving over the bridge to Manasota Key. His throat and eyes burned from the aerosolized red tide toxins carried miles by the sea spray.

The stench of the carnage hung on the summer humidity.

“We were wearing snorkel goggles and respirators to do the job,” said MacAulay, a volunteer since 2016. “It was just horrible. Everywhere you stepped, you couldn’t go down to the shoreline. It was lined all the way with dead fish. … The bugs were worse.”

Turtle patrollers — doctors, dentists, anglers, kayakers, teachers, outdoors people from all walks of life — donned military-grade gas masks or wore scarves over their face on mile-long walks to check for fresh turtle crawls. Later on, they cleared a path through piles of rotting fish to make way for hatchlings racing to the sea.

“The turtles barrel through the dead fish and still nest,” MacAulay said. “We had to go each day regardless of the stench and the toxins in the air. We tried to protect ourselves the best we could. It’s kind of extreme when you’re walking down the beach like you’re in chemical gear in a lab somewhere.”

MacAulay, and many others who signed on for the previously leisurely strolls to check nests — before sunrise and before beachgoers or tides could erase evidence of the crawls — didn’t quit the thankless job.

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Thousands of dead fish found washed up along Robinson Preserve, Florida, USA

Fish Kill Alert

A massive cleanup is underway in Manatee County at the Robinson Preserve. Crews consider the effort an all-hands-on-deck emergency as they work non-stop to clean up the preserve, a popular spot in Manatee County where thousands of dead mullet have washed into the area because of red tide.

Manatee County’s natural resources and ecological marine staff have been working to clean up the fish by going out on barges to pick them up by hand, and then filling up huge dumpsters.

“We will just try to get as much out of there to keep the water quality as good as we can so we don’t have a continuation of this,” said Damon Moore of Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources.

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TONS of dead fish continue to wash up due to red tide in Pinellas County, Florida, USA

Fish Kill Alert

Tons of dead fish, effected by red tide, continue to wash inshore in Pinellas County.

Fishermen cousins Kyle and Sam Joseph have been on the water to help with the clean up.

“It’s just tons of it, man,” said Sam.

They’ve been working for weeks, pulling 12 hour shifts.

“We’re going on day 16 now and doesn’t look like we’re slowing down,” said Kyle.

Captain Dan Condron, with Lil Mo Marines Services, said fish continue to wash inshore, days after Hurricane Michael passed Tampa Bay.

“Sheepshead, snooks, flounder, pin fish, all the inshore species were pretty much bad,” he said.

Crews are focused on the Intracoastal waterway, residential canals and bay waters.

Onshore winds brought fish kills to St. Pete Beach and Pass-A-Grille Tuesday morning.

“The wind pushes it against the dock line and it’ll be a big ole cluster,” said Condron.

He said he wants to get his crew back on the water doing what they love.

“I run a handful of other people’s boats for fishing charters. Half of my fleet over here, he’s a fishing charter guy, couple other guys so from there, just happy to get everybody back to work,” said Condron.

Pinellas County conducted water quality testing on Monday and found overall declining concentrations of Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism.

However, high concentrations were found at Treasure Island, Gulfport Fishing Pier, Fort De Soto Park bayside and Keegan Clair Park.

Several samples were collected from the Intracoastal Waterway near areas of large fish kills, and the results were extremely high.

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60,000 dead fish wash up in Indian River Lagoon, Florida, USA

Fish Kill Alert

An estimated 60,000 dead fish littered a six-mile-long stretch of Indian River Shores’ beaches Wednesday morning, according to a Public Safety Department survey.

In some spots, there were more than 200 dead fish for every 100 feet of shoreline, which stretches from Vero Beach north to Wabasso Beach.

“It’s very patchy,” Police Chief Rich Rosell told the Town Council during a meeting Wednesday. “In some areas there are more than 200 and in others there are less.”

The Town Council unanimously authorized Town Manager Rob Stabe to spend up to $25,000 in emergency funds to clean up the massive fish kill.

Stabe said he would contact Vero Beach and Indian River County officials to see who those governments contracted for their cleanup efforts, and consider hiring them as well.

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Hundreds of dead fish wash up, due to red tide in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Fish Kill Alert

Hundreds of dead fish have been found washed ashore Fort Lauderdale Beach, leaving officials to believe that toxic red tide algae has made its first appearance in Broward County.

Mayor Dean Trantalis says beaches in the city will remain open until official test results from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission are confirmed. Those test results are expected to be returned by the end of Friday.

Beginning Friday morning, signs will be posted to inform beachgoers of current conditions, while city employees will continue to remove fish that wash up on-shore.

While finding hundreds of fish on Fort Lauderdale Beach sounds alarming, the mayor claims that’s nothing compared to other parts of the state.

“We should compare that to what’s happening in the Gulf Coast since August, they’ve removed 200 tons,” said Trantalis.

Several Miami-Dade beaches were closed overnight, and remain closed, after red tide was discovered in the area.

Trantalis says the city will continue to work with county and state officials to monitor water off the coastline.

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Massive fish kill, due to red tide, ‘never seen this before’ in Mexico Beach, Florida, USA

Fish Kill Alert

“This is probably the biggest fish kill we’ve ever had in our canal,” said Mayor Al Cathey. “I’ve been here all my life and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Crews might need until the end of Friday to unclog Mexico Beach Canal of fish likely killed by a toxic red tide algae bloom on Tuesday.

Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey said the cleanup, which began on Wednesday, would be long and intensive because workers have had to remove the fish by hand with nets since machinery can’t fit in the canal. Meanwhile, the dead fish and the possible threat of more from another red tide has Cathey and some tourism advocates worried about a drop in visitors to the city and their wallets.

“This is probably the biggest fish kill we’ve ever had in our canal,” Cathey said. “I’ve been here all my life and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wednesday report, medium concentrations of Karenia brevis, the algae responsible for red tide, were detected in Bay County near Mexico Beach. Medium concentrations of red tide are enough to kill fish and cause respiratory irritation.

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Thousands of dead fish wash up due to red tide on Panama City beach, Florida, USA

Fish Kill Alert

Beachgoers in Panama City Beach were greeted by a grisly sight as Thousands of dead fish spanning the coastline.

The killer? Red tide.

While red tide this far north is less common than in the south, FSU Oceanographer Dr. Jeff Chanton says it’s nothing new.

“The red tide organism was first observed here in the 1500s by the Spanish explorers,” said Chanton.

The blooms are caused by high nutrient levels in the water. While they can occur naturally, scientists believe the length and severity of the outbreaks have increased due to human use of fertilizers.

Southwest Florida has been experiencing red tide since last October.

“The fish of the Gulf of Mexico suffer terribly because of this. Seabirds suffer because of this. It’s a very disturbing thing,” said Chanton.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it’s investigating whether the red tide in south Florida spread north, or if the outbreak in the Panhandle is a separate, unrelated incident.

Jonathan Webber with Florida Conservation Voters says whether or not the outbreaks are connected, the worsening situation calls for action from the state.

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33.48 TONS of dead fish wash up, due to red tide in Pinellas County, Florida, USA

Fish Kill Alert

Red tide is officially impacting Pinellas County. Crews have picked up a total of 33.48 tons of dead fish and hauled them off to the county dump.

Tests conducted Monday show the highest levels of the toxic algae bloom near John’s Pass and Madeira Beach. Low levels were also found near the Bellair Boat Ramp and Sand Key near Clearwater Pass.

On Monday, less than a dozen people lounged on chairs on the beach directly across from John’s Pass as county crews and contractors hired by Pinellas County worked to clear the sand on land and in the water.

Crews tell us ABC Action News they’ve scooped up hundreds of thousands of dead fish.

Alex King with Lil Mo’s Marine Cleanup says his crew of more than 30 people is working to be proactive. The team, which is based out of Southwest Florida, is using several vessels to net the fish before they wash onto shore. The boats have a built-in skimming device that helps rake in fish floating on the surface of the ocean.

“We’re trying to stop them before they wash onto the beach or into people’s docks. Pinellas County’s approach is different from any red tide cleanup in history because it is much more proactive,” King explained.

That’s uplifting for Pinellas County businesses near the beach, including those in John’s Pass.

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Thousands of dead fish wash up again in Sarasota, Florida,USA

Fish Kill Alert

Red tide is in full force, and it doesn’t look like it is going away any time soon.

On Thursday afternoon, downtown Sarasota smelled of rotten fish, even several miles away from the beach. This isn’t the first day it has smelled like that either, residents say.

Much like the rest of Sarasota, the stench was strong at the downtown Hyatt Regency at 1000 Boulevard of the Arts.

“The smell has been around for a couple of weeks,” said the hotel’s general manager, Marcia Dmochowski-Clark. “Yesterday I was on St. Armand’s for lunch and people were eating outside … I don’t know how they can do that.”

But Dmochowski-Clark did say that the hotel has been using an anchored buoy system to keep the piles of fish away from the marina and pool.

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Mass die off of fish, birds, manatees, shark and other marine life due to red tide in Florida, USA

Florida’s southwest coast, a ribbon of inlets and barrier islands normally brimming with wildlife, has become a red tide slaughterhouse this summer.

Dead fish by the thousands have clogged inlets and canals. Since Sunday, 10 dead Goliath grouper, the massive reef fish that can live four decades or more, have floated to the surface. At least 90 sea turtles have been found stranded as the tide stretches well into nesting season. And Tuesday, as hundreds of residents packed a standing-room-only Cape Coral yacht club to hear about the federal government’s efforts to deal with water conditions, a dead manatee washed up at a nearby boat ramp.

The list goes on: earlier this month the carcass of a whale shark was found on a Sanibel beach with red tide in its muscles, liver, intestines and stomach. Hundreds of double-breasted cormorants, brown pelicans and other seabirds have been sickened or died.

Coupled with a massive blue-green algae bloom that spread across Lake Okeechobee and snaked down the Caloosahatchee River in June, the dire conditions have infuriated businesses and residents, and drawn national attention to the normally quiet tourist towns.

“This is horrific what we’re enduring now, but it needs to be a wake-up call to people that clean water is important to more than just wildlife,” said Heather Barron, a veterinarian and research director at Sanibel’s CROW Clinic wildlife rescue center, which began treating poisoned birds as early as October. “As the person dealing with all these hundreds of dying animals, I’m upset.”

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