BAY COUNTY, Fla. - Is red tide a concern for our beautiful beaches?
Recent pictures of dead fish washed up on Panama City Beach have many fearing for the worst. Red tide is making headlines and killing marine life off the coast of Florida. The current red tide status report shows the algae bloom present from Collier County to Pinellas County.
"We're just sitting there and it's such a beautiful day and the dolphins had gone down by the sandbar. Then next thing I know, dead fish are washing up," said Wanda Scott, a visitor from Tennessee.
Scott said she visits Panama City Beach every year, but this year was different. On Sunday, she was at the beach near public access point 45, when she saw dead fish washing up on the sandy shore.
"We thought it was plastic floating out in the water, so I went out to get it. I t was a dead fish. I noticed people down close to the pier were coming out of the water and then it was just like by rows they were coming in just one after another, after another. Then everybody started getting out of the water," said Scott.
We reached out to FWC and and they said that K. Brevis, the organism responsible for the tides, was observed at very low concentrations in a sample collected in St. Andrews Bay last week (September 1-7). However, they continued and said there was not a bloom present in this area as of September 7th.
Visitors like Dane Butterfield, who has seen the worst of red tide while visiting Fort Myers, said it's not just impacting the sea life.
"When I'd get close to the beach, I'd notice a cough and something in my throat and it took me a day or two before I asked other people staying where we were why I was coughing. They explained to me the red tide and how it was affecting the beach," said Butterfield, an Oklahoma Resident.
FWC said they will continue to monitor the water and take weekly samples. The next red tide status report will be posted on September 12th.
Officials would like to encourage individuals to submit reports of fish kills online or by calling the fish kill hotline at 800-636-0511
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