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Everything you need to know about Red Tide on the Suncoast

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Red tide has been clinging along the Suncoast but it officially arrived along Siesta Key on Tuesday when hundreds of dead fish washed ashore.

>>Facts about red tide, including the cause

Cleanup efforts have been going on ever since. Thursday, crews spent the day cleaning up Siesta Key, removing 16 tons of dead fish. Here is what the beaches looked like before cleanup efforts:

The dead fish and other sea creatures are being taken to local landfills. Friday morning, crews were back on the beaches, cleaning up Lido Beach, South Lido Beach, Turtle Beach and area boat ramps. You can almost smell this video:

>>Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released their end of the week red tide update on Friday, August 3. You can read the full report here

The cause of red tide is something that's been hotly debated on our Facebook page. We spoke to an expert. Here is what she had to say:

>>Last month, we completed an investigative report on the Lake Okeechobee connection to red tide. Read that report here

Though the debate rages on Facebook about red tide, one thing that isn't being debated is the negative effects it's having on area business. As of Thursday evening, Visit Sarasota says 75 percent of the hotels that they surveyed have seen cancellations due to red tide.

We spoke to area business owners. Here's what they had to say:

Though this recent bout of red tide has been particularly bad, ABC7 has been covering the effects of red tide for weeks. Last month, we interviewed other business owners, who say red tide is killing off their ability to make money from Florida's tourism industry. And a few days ago, we highlighted the red tide situation from Venice to Port Charlotte, where the smell was so intense you could hardly breathe:

The good news is meteorologist John Scalzi reports Thursday that over the next 48 hours, the wind will shift and come from the East, decreasing the red tide and smell in the air, as well as helping to push the bloom further from the shore. More details here.

Red tide has been killing off marine life for weeks. An alarming number of dead sea turtles have been discovered all along the Suncoast and manatees and dolphins continue to be found dead in the water. Earlier this week, we shared heartbreaking video of manatees trying to help their dead friend in Lemon Bay:

If you see a manatee in trouble, here's information on what you need to do to help it. If you have any photos or video of the red tide, please send them to pix@mysuncoast.com 

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