Red tide sticking around longer could cause more damage

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
calusa waterkeeper
Credit: Ralph Arwood / Calusa Waterkeeper

A Facebook post from the Calusa Waterkeeper shows that areas from Sarasota to Sanibel are being impacted by red tide toxins. The photos were taken between Boca Grande and Venice.

On the latest red tide map, you can see that in the area where the pictures were taken, there are medium to high concentrations of red tide. And one expert says that the longer that red tide sticks around, the more damage it can cause.

Red tide has also taken the lives of thousands of fish between Sanibel and Sarasota. But, it also impacts people. Jonh Cassani is the Calusa Waterkeeper.

“Yeah, we’re seeing some of the outcomes of a pretty widespread red tide extending from about Northern Lee County up through Sarasota County,” Cassani said.

Cassani describes it as a massive red tide damage that could very likely stick around. “We’ve had red tide in Southwest Florida coast since about January, so the intensity and the distribution changes from time to time, week to week,” he said.

Cassani believes that the longer red tide stays, the more damage it will leave behind. Remember the detriment back to the 2018-2019 red tide event.

“Well, you can only damage these ecosystems so much, so often,” said Cassani. “And we’re seeing the same level of damage now with this bloom.”

Red Tide map 8.22
Red Tide map 8.22 Credit: WINK Weather

David Williams used to fish every day, serve days a week in Alva. He’s called it home for 67 years.

“It’s an outrage,” said Willaims. “I never thought I’d see a day that I didn’t see a mullet. It’s terrible.”

Those photos made Willaims emotional. “I gotta go. It’s just. This is just too much on me,” he said, sniffling.

His biggest concern is there’s nothing we can do to help. “It does make me cry,” Williams said. “My grandkids will never see it! and it’s sad.”

John Cassani says the state needs to do a better job of addressing the number of nutrients in the water.

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