Nature World News
October 02, 2016
After Green Algae, Red Tide Spreads in Florida; Beaches Clogged With Dead Fish
By A. Vila
Florida is not only home to alligators, but is also slowly becoming a home of environmental problems.
After green algae has spread in Florida, the bloom of red tide is now engulfing the Floridian beaches. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission defines red tide, also known as Karena brevis, as "harmful algal bloom, wherein there is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plantlike organism)."
Red tides produce toxic chemicals that can affect both marine organisms and humans.
In an announcement posted on their website, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said that the red tide has been spreading plague in Manatee and Sarasota beaches and has reached the Pinellas County.
"As of September 30th, fish kills affecting multiple species, as well as respiratory irritation, have been reported at locations along Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties," the update read.
Visitors in the northern counties complained about the revolting smell and complained of coughing and throat itching even in areas not right on the beach.
"There was some dead fish up on the beach. You could just feel it in the air," said visitor Jonathan Pearce in an interview with NBC. "We went outside this morning. Coughed as soon as we went outside, unfortunately. Kids were coughing."
Red tides can last as little as a few weeks or longer than a year. For people with asthma, red tides could be really dangerous because of the toxic chemicals carried by the wind. In some cases, oysters and clams could also accumulate the poisonous chemicals. People who consume contaminated mollusks can suffer from Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning, which include symptoms such as vomiting, nausea and a variety of neurological symptoms such as slurred speech.
Mote Marine Laboratory scientists in Southwest Florida and other experts and officials are closely monitoring counts of red tide algae.