Crews work to clear North Naples canals of dead fish

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Crews worked Monday morning to clean a canal after Collier County received $190,000 to cleanup stinky, disgusting dead fish.

“Red tide this year is really really bad,” said Naples resident Michael Miller.

“I thought it might be turning for the better, but only seems to be getting worse,” said Brian Smith, of Smokin’ Hooks.

It’s been two weeks since Miller launched out of the Cocohatchee Boat Ramp. That’s a long time for a man who loves to fish on his days off.

“I saw quite some, they were floating around all over the place mostly like mullet and catfish and a bunch a nice real big snook,” Miller said.

And he’s only here Monday to check on the conditions.

“There was no bites at all,” Miller said. “Usually it’s like a week or two where we have red tide. But now it’s been weeks and it doesn’t stop.”

He’s ventured farther from shore, but with little luck.

Most of the fist are dead, and heading for shore where tourists like Frank Mellana stay.

“I have not gone fully in because you gotta think if there’s dead mammals floating around, what could it do to a human, you know?” Mellana said in a phone interview.

Mellana said the water was fine when he first arrived last week from New Jersey, but now he can tell red tide is here.

“Two days ago, I was out skim boarding and right in front of our eyes the water turned brown and fish just started hitting the surface,” Mellana said in a phone interview.

He’s noticed the county’s daily cleanup efforts, but says the problem reappears.

As for Miller, he hopes the problem goes away before Oct. 15.

“I just hope it goes away, and the fishing gets back to normal and it doesn’t affect the crab season,” Miller said.

Miller said he caught more than 70 pounds of shrimp last year.

But if things don’t clear up soon, he says he won’t be eating anything from this water.

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