Fish and fowl continue to suffer effects of red tide

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Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012 4:41 pm

SARASOTA COUNTY - A red tide bloom continues to impact local beaches. Now there are some signs that it's not just fish which are dying.

Monday was another busy day for crews picking dead fish along the south Sarasota County beaches. Using the sheriff's Work Offender Program, county crews are busy scooping them up as quickly as they can. "There were just thousands. I looked down the beach and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, they are all the way down.’ I stopped counting at 300," says Kimi Lamm of Sarasota County.

The dead fish are now drifting into the Intracoastal Waterway as well, piling up near the North Jetty Fish Camp.

Kevin Barton with the Wildlife Center of Venice found some dead seagulls near the jetty rocks; others were struggling to survive. "We have gotten some calls. Mostly what we have gotten are sick gulls. That is the main thing we have seen lately."

Crews are also busy picking up near the Venice dog beach. "I would think a dog would get very sick eating some of this stuff," says visitor Lora Morningstar. "I worry about her picking up something she shouldn't have. She is just learning to leave it. It is a temptation for them," she says of her dog Izzy.

Barton says they've seen all sorts get sick in the past. "Don't let anything eat dead or dying fish. It could be because of the direct red tide poisoning, but also keep in mind botulism can come about in these dead and decaying animals."

So nearly a week since the first reports of red tide, it seems to be getting worse. Many residents are concerned with its lingering effect on tourism and the fishing industry. The longer it stays the more issues it creates.

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