Red tide algae bloom killing marine life off Florida coast

Red tide algae bloom killing marine life off Florida coast

Red tide algae bloom killing marine life off Florida coast

Officials say almost 400 sea turtles have died because of the toxic bloom.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, almost 300 sea turtles have died since a red tide algae bloom started late previous year between Sarasota and Collier counties. However, there has yet to be a firm link established between nutrient pollution and the severity of red tide, according to Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.

While the toxic algae blooms known as "red tides" are common off the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is calling the current event the worst in a decade.

The US Federal Government met with Florida residents in late July to discuss the water quality issue after Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in the area around Lake Okeechobee.

Dozens of sea turtles are also turning up dead.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission reports that dead fish have been found in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Collier and Monroe counties and include such species as grouper, trout, eel, snook, tarpon, hardhead catfish and assorted baitfish.

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Social media has been inundated with images of dead animals that failed to escape the toxic bloom washing up on the Gulf of Mexico beaches across Florida. The FWC reports that this recent bloom has been monitored since November.

But the bloom is not only unsafe to marine animals. The algae can also cause respiratory problems in humans.

Usually, cold spells break up or kill off some of the algae, but not this time.

The toxin in red tide is dispersed into the air when bubbles in sea foam pop, Fanara said.

K. brevis produces neurotoxins that can sicken and kill fish, seabirds, turtles and other marine life.

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