Boat captain says red tide continues to impact the Suncoast and her business

Boat tour of Sarasota Bay in Manatee County showing lots of red tide still present.
Boat tour of Sarasota Bay in Manatee County showing lots of red tide still present.(WWSB)
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 10:10 PM EST
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ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. (WWSB) - On a boat ride-along with Captain Kathe Fannon, ABC7 getting a small taste of what she and others have been dealing with on and around Sarasota Bay in Manatee County. She says this red tide has been very frustrating.

“It is very hard to deal with this red tide because every time a boat goes by it throws it into the air,” said Fannon. “Now it’s coming all year round and it’s coming more frequently, and I’m almost to the point, do we ever really get rid of it.”

Dead fish were spotted on this tour of the bay and the red tide smell is still very strong. Fannon says this is significantly impacting her charter boat business and other businesses that rely on the water.

“We’ve had so many cancellations, they have asthma, upper respiratory, and you just do not need to be out here on the island or anywhere near the water,” said Fannon.

Despite the red tide, it’s not stopping a lot of visitors from enjoying water related activities.

“We arrived here from Chicago on Sunday and we did cough quite a bit,” said Alice Roberts. “We were quite surprised because we hadn’t heard about the red tide this time of year, so we all used our throat lozenges and carried on.”

Manatee County officials saying they are staying on top of anything red tide related.

“We have been running the three beach rigs daily for the last 22 days,” said Carmine DeMilio, Manatee County Sports and Leisure Grounds Deputy Director. “We have boats in the water, we have drones in the sky and we have staff working diligently to clean up red tide.”

Fannon says it’s been very difficult to see the water this dirty saying it’s not supposed to look that way. She says a major contributing factor to this red tide is runoff from all the developments being built. Recently, she turned in two dead manatees, a struggling sea turtle and two pelicans, one of which had died.

“It’s sad there’s nothing worse than seeing a pelican or dolphin, when you see a dolphin or a manatee or a turtle struggling, it is heartbreaking,” said Fannon.