Dead fish cleanup from Red Tide not keeping people off Collier County beaches

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Crews are plowing through the sand up and down Southwest Florida’s coast to collect the dead fish washing ashore from Red Tide.

On Thursday, WINK News found dead fish cleanup underway in Bonita Springs. On Wednesday, cleanup was taking place on Fort Myers Beach. On Friday, that work begins in Naples.

As we’ve shown you all week, Red Tide is getting worse. The stench is bad. The fish kill is worse. Despite that, people still packed Vanderbilt Beach on Thursday.

If you were in Southwest Florida in 2018, you know the deal. The Red Tide after Hurricane Irma was bad, and it’s bad again after Ian.

“First, the obviously the first thing is the throat irritation, coughing a lot of coughing,” said Donna Pappas.

Red Tide can be hit or miss at the beach. That keeps sunbathers coming out to test the Gulf shore waters.

“I’d rather just go home today, and I’ll wait until this is completely gone. And try again,” said Pappas.

“If you’re on vacation, and you only have a week here, I would say go ahead and take a chance to come to the beach,” said Marilyn Celadon.

Collier and Lee counties send crews to the beaches early in the morning to clear away dead fish. Workers hit Bonita Beach last because it’s still closed to the public because of the damage done by Hurricane Ian.

FGCU Water School professor Mike Parsons said if Red Tide is new to you, don’t push it. “It’s irritating. Some people might start feeling run down, so they should just kind of pay attention to their body and see how you feel.”

The dead fish and Red Tide didn’t keep people from enjoying the sunset on Vanderbilt Beach.

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