Red Tide: Collier County issues health alert for the coast

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Photo via Chris Klein

Red tide has made its way back to Southwest Florida waters, and it can do more than kill the fish that have been washing up on the shores.

Collier County warns residents and visitors that if you have respiratory problems, stay away from the water.

In the state’s real-time water quality map, you can see medium concentrations of red tide at Barefoot and Vanderbilt beaches.

People who remember how bad it got last year are hopeful it will clear up. In the meantime, they plan to play it safe when it comes to entering the water.

“You could see there were shiny things in the water, so it was dead fish kind of floating.. the first thing I said to my friend I’m not going in the water,” said Bonita Beach resident Peggy Alexander.

Dead fish washed up all along the coast from Bonita Beach to Gordon Pass, and people reported seeing them out in several back-bay areas.

The latest samples show low levels of red tide at Seagate Beach and the Naples Pier as well.

The manager at Doc’s Beach House in Bonita Beach told WINK News they hadn’t seen quite as many dead fish around them, and they hope it stays that way.

Like many others, he says they lost a ton of business last year because of the red tide, but now he’s trying to stay optimistic.

“I’m not too worried right now, I was surprised even to see what I saw this morning,” said Lou Bangert, Docs Beach House Manager. “Last year, we had no one here. It was terrible. Fish everywhere all kinds of fish and everything so we’re way ahead of last year.”

Red tide levels can irritate your eyes and throat. The county suggests anyone with health issues avoid the beach for now until conditions get better.

The county is testing the water again on Thursday and results should be in by Friday.

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