Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach seeing high concentrations of red tide, sick birds

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Lighthouse Beach Park on Sanibel is one of several areas showing high concentrations of red tide on the latest Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission map.

“You can feel it in your throat and kind of a little burning in your eyes in the water,” said Jeremy Sealey of Fort Myers Beach.

Although he says it’s not nearly as bad as last week. He was one of the many beachgoers at the lighthouse point who spent the day in the water.

Regardless of the latest FWC map, Shawn Aubrey, who is visiting the area, says she’s noticed the presence of the red tide as soon as she stepped on the sand.

On Friday, a few dead fish could be seen but not anything compared to last week; however, officials tell us this month they’ve noticed the red tide is impacting more than just fish.

Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel said Cormorant birds are showing signs of red tide poisoning.

Since the beginning of October, they’ve had 36 of these birds admitted – 23 of those in the last week alone.

“It’s depressing to me and scary,” said Sealey. “I feel like we need to figure out the cause of it and see if we can find a solution to it.”

CROW says they start to see more of these birds come in when the blooms are present. Beachgoers on Sanibel say they’ve begun to notice the effects too.

“Immediately when I got out of my car and started walking toward the beach, I noticed like a little tickle, a little scratch-like tickle, and knew from past experience that that is a side effect of red tide,” said Aubrey.

We also see more red drift algae on Lee County beaches.

Latest red tide map (WINK News)

Over on Fort Myers Beach, concentrations of red tide are low, but the red drif algae still lingers. Regardless, it’s not keeping visitors on either beach from enjoying the sunshine.

“It’s doable,” said Aubrey. “Obviously, there’s people on the beach, so it’s not bad for them either.”

On Friday afternoon, there were plenty of workers cleaning up the drift algae on fort Myers Beach. The town says they are monitoring it daily.

Click HERE to see the latest red tide map from FWC.

Click HERE for information on the FWC Fish Kill Hotline and how to report.

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