Chunks of drift algae shows up on Fort Myers Beach shores

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Photo by WINK News

Many visitors on Fort Myers Beach describe the appearance of red drift algae as just icky, leading many along the packed shores to not enter the water.

“It’s just a nuisance going through up to your shins,” Ronald Putnam said. “A couple of days ago it was like from the shoreline out about 8 feet. And there was quite an odor to it.”

“Just didn’t want to walk through it,” Lois Woodcook said.

Experts claim the algae is harmless. It appears at its heaviest in the spring. With a change in winds, much of the algae concentrates on the shoreline. While the abundance in seaweed is a little abnormal, it is too early to tell if it has any connection to red tide.

“If we had this significant algae showing up on the beach, continuing to show up on the beach,” said Mike Parsons, a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University Water School, “that would suggest maybe there is some type of connection.”

Beach-goers said something needs to be done for the sake of tourism. The appearance brings back fears of blue-green algae, which devastated revenues for local businesses in Fort Myers Beach.

“The beautiful white sand,” Woodcook said. “It’s just a shame to have the shoreline be like that.”

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