Concerns over previous red tide reports hurting some businesses

Red Tide Concerns

SIESTA KEY, Fla. (WWSB) - Encouraging news from Florida Fish and Wildlife’s red tide report with conditions improving late this week.

But days ago, near Siesta Key, there were low- to medium-concentrations of red tide, and because of that, at least one local boat charter says business has been “hit or miss.”

“Baits are the first fish that will perish after red tide or while red tide is occurring,” said Matt Fueyo, owner of Reel Tight Fishing Charters in Siesta Key.

On Friday, he went out to look for bait.

“This is why I know you don’t have red tide,” he said.

Fueyo says his business has been somewhat rocky this season due to recent reports showing red tide in Sarasota County.

“A lot of guests call us and ask what’s going on with the red tide and we’re honest with them, there’s a lot of red tide at the south of us,” he said.

He took us along on a boat ride, to show us current conditions by Siesta Key. The water is clear. Many were out fishing. At the same time, we managed to get a lot of bait.

During our trip, he told ABC7 that most of his clients are from out of town and think conditions are like last year. Because of that he’s been advertising more than usual.

“So since these reports came out, now we average two to four trips a week during this time of year. Those numbers have stayed the same,” said Fueyo.

But others are not so lucky. He says other charter companies have seen a decline. He still remembers how bad his company was impacted by last year’s red tide.

“It hurt in our overall business. It affected my captains, it affected me, but fortunately we have other skills, so some of my captains went to do some carpentry, some went to do some painting. I went to work in a private yacht for a few months so I can maintain the business and keep everything going,” he said.

But this year is different, and he hopes more people can see the difference.

“The bait has come back ten fold so that’s been good. As long as you have bait you’ll have predator fish,” he said.

Here’s the latest FWC red tide report.

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