The last thing we want to be reporting on is the possibility that Red Tide will be an issue again for our area. The impact Red Tide had on local businesses 2 years ago was devastating. Over the last week, many of you have told us you smell that smell and you’ve seen dead fish on some of the local beaches. And now this from the City of Sanibel….
The City of Sanibel has issued guidance to property owners on how to remove dead fish from its beaches. “The Sanibel Public Works Department is picking up dead fish along the public beaches as conditions warrant. Property owners and managers are authorized to remove dead fish from the beach along their respective properties.”
The town of Fort Myers Beach reported a fish kill event on Thursday with dead catfish, mullet, bream and rays washing up on the beach. The town did not say exactly where the incident took place.
Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani tells us he’s keeping a close eye on this. “I’m very concerned about another red tide bloom because Gulf ecosystems are still recovering from the previous red tide event two years ago. If the current bloom gets worse and lasts well into 2021, it could be a real crisis for nearshore plant and animal communities extending potential recovery years into the future. Similarly, economic impacts to tourism and real estate industries could cripple the regional economy.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Foundation and other agencies are reporting the presence of a patchy red tide bloom alongshore and up to 20 miles offshore of Lee and Collier counties. We are expecting another update on the situation from the state today.
The impact of Red Tide including possible fish kills and respiratory irritation can vary greatly from day to day and even hour to hour depending on winds, tides, and currents.
One thing we know for sure is that it can be devastating to the local economy. All of us remember dumpsters full of dead fish in the Lynn Hall parking lot and lined up and down Fort Myers Beach, the lingering smell that had northerners hesitant to come to their vacation paradise and locals looking for other things to do on the weekend. Hopefully, as the Army Corp slows down its Lake O releases, this issues disappears quickly.
For current Red Tide Conditions & Forecasts use the links below:
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
GCOOS Red Tide Forecast
Lee County Health Department
The rules to remove dead fish (from the City of Sanibel)
– Only dead fish may be removed from the beach. This ensures that beach habitat for Sanibel’s wildlife is protected during the cleanup process.
– Dead fish may only be removed by hand, using hand tools such as pitch forks or grabbers. The use of shovels and mechanical equipment is strictly prohibited.
– All fish should be double bagged and placed in an onsite dumpster for disposal.