The Red Tide Remains

The Red Tide Remains

Well here we are at May’s doorstep and the red tide remains on the Gulf Coast. Not good. Not good at all. Crazy. In most years, red tide on the Gulf side of Florida occurs in late summer and lingers into fall. That’s far from true this time around.

Red tide blooms are caused by the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. Along the Southwest Florida coast, this year red tide began in late February and is proving to be exceptionally long lasting. Significant fish kills are still reported on the Lee County coast from Fort Myers beach and Sanibel, southward to Marco Island. Typically the dead include mullet, black drum, and redfish.  But red tide has the power to kill manatees, dolphin and sea turtles as well. Naturally it has a negative impacted on beach goers and tourist too. Besides the stink of rotting fish, exposure to red tide in the air causes respiratory problems in many people.

It appears increasing that coastal eutrophication is playing a role. Yeah we’re loving Florida to death folks. As the population grows, nutrient runoff from the land grows too. Fertilizers, sewage and alike. These things produce enriched nearshore water that likely assists red tide’s ability to expand. Something needs to be done, and soon.


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