Red tide keeping some spring breakers out of the water, but not off the beach

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Red tide is taking a toll on Southwest Florida, but many people in town are trying to enjoy the beach anyway.

WINK News didn’t meet any locals out on Vanderbilt Beach on Monday. Everyone we spoke to is visiting from somewhere else. Mostly, they stuck to the beach and stayed out of the water.

People come to Southwest Florida for the sun and the sand, and the clear blue waters. Very few people tested the water, though, despite the warm temperatures. They didn’t want to run into any dead fish.

“Yeah, there’s been a few dead fish and a little bit of fish smell today,” said Bob McPherson, visiting from Michigan.

Blame red tide. When Hurricane Irma hit, the red tide that followed killed lots of fish, even dolphins.

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, WINK News saw what appeared to be a dead shark on the shore of Vanderbilt Beach.

Dead shark on Vanderbilt Beach. (credit: WINK News)

“It is very sad to see overall the dead fish around,” said Cathy Coyle, visiting from New York.

Florida Fish and Wildlife said they’re investigating what happened to the shark.

On Friday, FWC rescued an unresponsive manatee, which staff suspects also suffered due to red tide. The sea calf is now rehabilitating at SeaWorld.

Manatee being rehabbed at SeaWorld. (Credit: FWC)

“With this red tide event that is ongoing, we cannot keep up with the amount of dead fish that are washing up on the shore. So again, please be careful. Please do not enter the water if you see dead fish,” said Kristine Hollingsworth, public information officer for the Florida Department of Health in Collier County.

Alicia Coberstein and her daughter are visiting from Minnesota. They also aren’t a fan of the dead fish. “I don’t really want a dead fish rubbing up against my leg when I’m in the water. So, I’m going to just, you know, rinse off my feet.”

Spring break is in full swing, so expect beaches to be packed, despite red tide.

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