Effects of red tide noticed on Marco Island, high concentrations present in Collier County

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Dead fish are seen on the beach on Marco Island Friday, Jan. 1, 2020, likely due to the effects of red tide. High concentrations were shown to be present in Collier County on the latest red tide maps. It did not keep beachgoers away, but the effects were noticeable to them. Credit: WINK News.

Rows of dead fish were visible on a popular Southwest Florida beach to start the new year. Red tide is up and down the coast of the region.

Effects of red tide were not what beachgoers wanted to see for New Year’s Day on Marco Island Friday, as high concentrations were present in Collier County.

A lot of people vacationing on Marco Island for the new year were a little disappointed and grossed out by the fish kills spotted on the beach.

“We kept saying, ‘Watch out for the fish while we were walking by,” Alex Place said.

Place and her family were not expecting piles of dead fish to join them on their trip to the beach.

“I could tell the difference between a few days ago and even today,” Place said. “I think it’s gotten a little worse.”

The smelly fish along the shore of Tigertail Beach on Marco is pushing some vacationers out of town.

“We’re trying to push through, but we’re going to head a little farther up north, get away from it,” Mike Jergens said.

It’s not just the eyesores in the sand making them leave.

“For sure having some respiratory distress,” Jergens said.

They could feel the effects physically too.

“And it was in the air,” Place said. “I kept coughing, and I’m like, ‘I swear it’s not COVID.’”

Barefoot Beach, Vanderbilt, and the Naples Pier also tested high for red tide. The next sample collection will be Monday.

Those who live on the island hope the effects being noticed at the start of 2021 are as bad as it gets.

“I was praying out there, ‘Oh, please don’t let this get any worse because it can get bad and make it miserable to be on the beach,’” Debi Davis said.

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