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Red tide killing fish and impacting some Suncoast beaches

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SIESTA KEY, FL (WWSB) - Hundreds of dead fish, all shapes and sizes and other sea creatures line some of the area's best beaches because of red tide.  This was surprising to see for Maria Steininger, who was visiting Siesta Beach from Tacoma Washington.

"It's concerning because this is the number one beach, the sand is beautiful, it's cool it's not hot on your feet, to see this is pretty sad," said Steininger.

Experts from Mote Marine Lab say it is a little early in the year to see all this red tide.  Usually this algal bloom starts to be felt here on the Suncoast around September.

"Red tide can be very patchy," said Dr. Vince Lovko, a staff scientist with Mote Marine Lab.  "If it's high at one beach one day it might be low there the next day and high at a neighboring beach."

This algal bloom can be very harmful to sea creatures and cause respiratory issues to humans, especially from the strong odor of dead fish.  Right now red tide levels are low to medium at many of the beaches in the area including North Lido Beach, Siesta Beach and some locations in southern Sarasota County such as Venice and southern Manatee County mainly the Bradenton Beach area.

"almost about 10 or 15 minutes after arriving I had a cough and my throat itched," said Christina Thieme, a Sarasota resident.

At this time it's not known exactly how long the red tide will stick around at the area beaches.  The scientists at Mote Marine Lab say it's still okay to enjoy the beach and the water, but for folks who have issues with breathing, they are encouraged to be extra cautious.

The experts at Mote say they will continue to keep a very close eye on this situation.  For more information on red tide you can log onto the Mote Marine website  or check out the Mote Marine app.

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