Red tide impacting many beaches on the Suncoast

Red tide causing fish kill on some Suncoast beaches.
Red tide causing fish kill on some Suncoast beaches.(WWSB)
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:21 PM EST
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NOKOMIS, Fla. (WWSB) - Dead fish has been a common site recently at many of the beaches on the Suncoast. People heading to the beach or out on the water dealing with red tide up and down the coast. Beachgoers not only smelling it, but feeling it as well.

“It’s a little bit harder to breathe sometimes, I’m coughing, I hear a lot of people coughing on the beach and it’s just an irritant,” said Lee Dornfeld, a Lido Beach visitor from New Jersey. “But it goes away as soon as you go inland.”

Some beaches like Nokomis Beach and North Jetty Park have had higher levels of red tide the last few days. Some of those beaches had been seeing more dead sea life than other locations. Environmentalists say red tide is still pretty common during the winter months. They say there are usually large amounts of this toxic algae bloom offshore.

“Periodically, we’ll see it blow it onshore either through winds or tides or a combination of factors,” said Justin Bloom, Founder of Suncoast Waterkeeper. “So it’s common that it’s present around here, I’d say it’s less common to be at such high levels.”

So exactly what is causing it?

“We know that pollution mainly in the form of nutrients, excessive nutrients, contribute and provide fuel for these red tide blooms,” said Bloom.

Bloom says wind, tide, water conditions, salinity and atmospheric conditions also contributes to red tide.

Signs are posted at the beaches warning people. Beachgoers are urged to stay out of the water, especially those with health problems.

“I’ve been in smoggy situations all over the world, this is the ocean, it feels like you have that irritant,” said Dornfeld. “It probably will pass, you’ll get a storm or two, the wind will change, but it seems like it‘s getting worse each year.”

For the latest on the red tide conditions, you can click on this link