Red Tide Stacks Dead Fish on Florida Beaches


COQUINA BEACH, Fla. – The smell hits first, offensive at best and gag-inducing at worst. Then comes a small tickle that doesn’t go down the back of the throat.

But the real sign of a red tide is dead fish. On Wednesday, St. On Coquina Beach, Fla., south of St. Petersburg, carcasses were scattered ashore in small heaps.

“The smell, the dead fish, it’s disgusting,” said Angie Hampton, 54, who is on vacation from Indiana.

This was the case for most of the summer on beaches in the Tampa Bay area and Southwest Florida, where harmful algal blooms known as the red tide killed more than 600 tons of marine life. according to local authorities. Some were probably pushed ashore Tropical Storm Elsa two weeks ago.

“This is unusual for Tampa Bay,” said Kate Hubbard, a research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a flower this size.”

Conditions have actually started to improve a bit lately. A week ago, bacteria in parts of Tampa Bay were 10 to 17 times the concentration considered “high.” Pinellas County. This level of red tides “could cause significant human respiratory problems and fish deaths,” officials said.

Algal blooms are a natural phenomenon, but both pollution and climate change seem to be making them worse. Then leak detected This spring, scientists from a large wastewater reservoir at Piney Point, south of Tampa, warned that a significant red tide could set in.

Although it is difficult to link individual events to climate change, University of Florida shows that warming oceans will make red tides more frequent and harmful. “This” was announced in an editorial. Tampa Bay Times last week, “How does climate change smell?”


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