Quantcast

Red Tide That Plagued Florida for 15 Months Is Back

Oceans


The last red tide in Florida lasted 15 months — pictured here at Bean Point Beach. TriggerPhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The red tide that plagued Florida for 15 months — killing marine life and causing respiratory problems for humans — is back, The Associated Press reported Saturday.


Scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute announced Friday that samples of water taken off the shore of Collier County turned up high concentrations of the toxic algae that causes the tide, according to The Associated Press. There were also reports of dead fish and respiratory problems in the area.

"We have received reports of dead fish for several locations in Collier County including Barefoot Beach, Naples Bay near the Gordon River and by the Naples Pier," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Kelly Richmond told the Fort Myers News-Press. "Mullet appeared to be the most affected species but other unidentified fish have also been reported dead."

The news comes only about eight months after the state's longest red tide this decade finally faded away in February, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

That red tide began in November 2017, killed thousands of fish, turtles and marine mammals and harmed the economy of coastal towns that rely on tourism. At its peak, it touched all three of Florida's coasts.

This red tide is currently only impacting the state's southwest coast. In addition to Collier County, Lee County also tested positive for low concentrations of the algae, The Associated Press reported.

It is not yet known how long this bloom will last or where it will spread, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

The University of South Florida's College of Marine Science predicted it would move northwest in the next few days, The Fort Myers News-Press reported.

Red tides are caused by the organism Karenia brevis. The Tampa Bay Times explained how these tiny organisms create such big problems:

Small, scattered colonies of microscopic Red Tide algae live in the Gulf of Mexico all year long. Usually their numbers are so tiny that no one notices. But every now and then, usually in the late summer or fall, the algae population 10 to 40 miles offshore explodes into something called a bloom.

During a bloom the algae multiply rapidly and spread across the water's surface, staining it a rusty color that gives the phenomenon its name. Then winds and currents carry it toward shore, where it can be fed and prolonged by pollution from fertilizer, sewage spills and leaky septic tanks.

So far, this red tide has killed hundreds of fish. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned that those in the Naples area who have chronic respiratory illnesses or are especially sensitive to red tide will face breathing irritation, The Fort Myers News-Press reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An EPA sponsored cleanup of the toxic Gowanus Canal dredges a section of the canal of industrial debris on Oct. 28, 2016 in Brooklyn. The Gowanus is a Superfund site from years of industrial waste spilling into the water, and it is listed in GAO's report to be at risk from a climate disaster. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis / Getty Images

The climate crisis has put at least 945 designated toxic waste sites at severe risk of disaster from escalating wildfires, floods, rising seas and other climate-related disasters, according to a new study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Rob Greenfield pictured above is driven by the concept of "living a life where [he] can wake up and feel good about [his] life." Rob Greenfield / Facebook

For one year Rob Greenfield grew and foraged all of his own food. No grocery stores, no restaurants, no going to a bar for a drink, not even medicines from the pharmacy.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store. VioletaStoimenova / E+ / Getty Images

Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store, the company announced on Friday. The removal of the apps comes after thousands of people across the country have developed lung illnesses from vaping and 42 people have died.

Read More Show Less
A Keystone Pipeline oil spill has affected nearly 10 times the amount of land than previously thought. CBC News / YouTube screenshot

A spill at the Keystone Pipeline that began last month has affected nearly 10 times the amount of land than previously thought, state officials said Monday.

Read More Show Less