Fish litter canals near Vanderbilt beach, but who’s responsible?

Published: Updated:
Dead fish in a canal near Vanderbilt Beach on August, 20.

New video taken Monday near Vanderbilt Beach shows the impact of red tide there. Rotting fish out in the sun that’s creating a smell that’s driving away visitors, but we ask how the state is working to bring those visitors back.

Collier County is only in charge of cleaning up land, not waterways, and as the fish pile up businesses nearby are taking a huge hit.

Cayden McCarthy while on the beach said, “We just rode our longboards here and the whole way you could smell it”

Owner of the Beach Box Autumn Rodgers feels like she can’t catch a break, “Last year we get hit w the hurricane this year .. Red tide”

While the dead fish are piling up in the canals near Vanderbilt Beach, they’re being picked by maggots. All this creates a smell so awful nearby businesses like the Beach Box sometimes have to close their doors because of a lack of customers.

“They’re cleaning the beaches but the canals are cluttered with dead fish and it’s overbearing whichever way the wind blows you’re getting a horrible smell,” Rodgers said.

The state is making grant money available. A $500,000 recovery program that Collier and Lee counties tourism boards can use for ad campaigns to get people back here.

Resident Miles Griffin says, “We have a condominium building with 72 members and no one is there. Zero members”

The partnership with the states tourism board, Visit Florida, will provide a complimentary marketing program that will feature the best parts of Southwest Florida.

And if you’re someone who lives here full time and isn’t sure if red tide is bad where you want to go, Beach Box owner Autumn Rodgers says to do it the old-fashioned way, “Call us, we’ll tell you.”


Keep Collier Beautiful is looking for a volunteer for an upcoming beach cleanup event.

The International Coastal Cleanup will take place on September, 15 from 8 – 11 a.m.

Cleanup and signup sites will be all along the Collier County coast. For more information visit

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