Breaking down the chain effect red tide is having on SWFL waters

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Aerial footage over Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel, Aug. 10, 2018.

Many of you are have likely been staying away from the beaches these days. A biologist says red tide is still present and isn’t going away soon. Last Friday, a new fish kill washed ashore.

The frequent sight of dead marine life along the coast of Southwest Florida is depressing to some. Fisherman Matthew Maguire said, “Not very happy ’cause you know, came out here to have a good time.”

Luckily though, fewer are washing ashore overall, but does that mean it’s good news.

Dr. Richard Bartleson with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation says the marine ecosystem around Sanibel has nearly been wiped out by red tide, “There are fewer fish to be killed by the red tide. Red tide levels are still high.”

“The fish aren’t really there anymore and what the fish eat isn’t there,” Bartleson added.

He says with fewer fish in the water restoring this ecosystem is one of the major tasks ahead, “If fish come in this area they are likely to end up floating.”

Which is why these boaters are taking buckets and nets offshore to collect dead fish before they wash up on our beaches.

Over the weekend, two dead manatees were picked up off the coast of Sanibel and Captiva, and fisherman say there’s hardly a sign of life in the water.

Fisherman Gary Tsacoyianis says Monday’s fishing excursion turned up without a single bite, “We’re hoping to come and catch some fish but we know about the red tide and we didn’t think we were going to be doing too much but we gotta come out and give it a shot.”

How to report a distressed or dead wildlife FWC:

Call toll-free: 888-404-3922
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