Charlotte County workers filled buckets to the brim on Manasota Key full of dead fish. And beachgoers have to be careful where they step, all because of a red tide bloom lurking just offshore.
Crews went out to the public beach Tuesday morning and picked up five 5-gallon buckets of dead fish.
On the recently cleaned beach, you won’t find many dead fish but as you walk farther south, you’ll find yourself dodging them along the shoreline.
Some visitors say it’s bad enough to cut their vacation time in Southwest Florida short.
“A few days ago it wasn’t here but now there’s definitely dead fish along the beach,” said Chad White of Chattanooga. “Once you go past where it starts getting to private property, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, I mean hundreds.”
And Kashelle Evans of Wheeling, West Virginia, added, “Yesterday evening we saw some floating in the water, so today they’re mostly onshore. They’ve mostly washed up.”
White said they thought about going farther south to “outrun” it, or maybe just going back home to Chattanooga.
For those who are concerned, don’t leave just yet.
WINK News spotted only a handful of dead fish on Englewood public beach after Charlotte County cleared the shoreline Tuesday morning. They say public works will continue to do so as needed.
Jeannette Capps of Ocala was at that beach and said, “Right now I don’t smell anything and I think it’s beautiful out. I think people should not be afraid to come.”
Plenty of families are still soaking up the sun and sand.
Evans knows firsthand it could be much worse. “Last year we had covid to deal with. We all wore masks. This year, a little dead fish is nothing.”
The National Weather Service issued a beach hazard statement for red tide along coastal Charlotte and Lee counties through Tuesday night..
If you experience respiratory irritation, your best bet is to move to an unaffected beach.