Red tide levels creeping up along Collier coast

Photo courtesy Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve 
 Distressed catfish swim near the surface in Rookery Bay possibly due to red tide which has been killing fish in the area.

Photo courtesy Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Distressed catfish swim near the surface in Rookery Bay possibly due to red tide which has been killing fish in the area.

— Red tide has spread along the Collier County coastline this week as thousands of dead fish have washed up along the beaches in Sarasota and Charlotte counties.

Collier County reported toxic blooms of the microscopic algae at medium levels at Barefoot Beach, at low levels at south Marco Beach and Seagate, and at very low levels at Vanderbilt Beach.

Red tide can kill marine life and cause coughing, sneezing and watery eyes in people, though the county hasn't received reports of dead fish since Nov. 27 and just one report of respiratory irritation since Nov. 15.

The county staff is warning people with emphysema and asthma to use caution when going to the beach. More water samples are set to be taken Monday.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports dead fish started washing ashore on Monday. Crews spent Thursday afternoon cleaning the beaches along Blind Pass, Manasota and Englewood Beach.

Sarasota parks and recreation director George Tatge calls the red tide outbreak "significant."

He said most of the dead fish are large mullet. Tatge suspects a large school of mullet likely got caught up in a red tide bloom and washed ashore because of strong wind from the west.

In Collier County, to report red tide symptoms, call 239-252-2502. Red tide updates are available by calling the county's hot line at 239-252-2591 or by going to www.colliergov.net/redtideupdate.

_ The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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OldMarcoMan writes:

Except for that, how are those sewer treatment plants working out ?

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