Red tide cited after manatees, thousands of fish found dead in Florida

Red tide cited after manatees, thousands of fish found dead in Florida

Kenneth Drake
August 7, 2018

FWC marine turtle biologist Robbin Trindell says the increased number is due, in part, to the red tide affecting numerous beaches where the turtles nest during the summer time.

Sea turtles, manatees, fish and other animals are seeing a spike in their mortality rate during 2018, especially in Southwest Florida.

Red tide is the name given to the blooms of a species of microorganisms that have a distinct red colour.

Now red tide is causing additional wildlife to wash up on beach shores and begin rotting.

Social media has been inundated with images of dead animals that failed to escape the toxic bloom washing up on the Gulf of Mexico beaches across Florida. The state's governor has declared a state of emergency. "It's our entire south Florida coastline with the red tide and then with the blue-green algae on the rivers and canals". Several news outlets reported that a dead manatee was also recovered off the Florida coast, and at least one biologist found evidence the red tide may have killed a whale shark. "We're even seeing large loggerhead sea turtles being effected, and that's because this red tide has lasted into the nesting season". The algae bloom - which gets its name because the microscopic algae often turn water red - has already lasted since November of past year, and could stretch into 2019, some scientists are saying.

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But the bloom is not only risky to marine animals.

The excess amount of algae absorbs much of the oxygen in the water, killing off marine life beneath the surface.

The harmful algae bloom has also been hurting businesses in the area.

As part of the directive, the conservation commission will assist local efforts to save animals affected by red tide.