Water-Related News

Red tide suspected of killing Manatees in Gulf

SARASOTA, Fla. --Red Tide it’s out in the Gulf of Mexico and depending on the wind’s direction it can ruin a trip to the beach.

“You start to cough, cough sometimes eyes get very itchy,” says Pasqua Rago, she’s visiting from New Jersey.

But beach goers can pack up and leave marine life isn’t as lucky.

“This is a shame, wow,” says Pasqua Rago as she reacts to this photo of a manatee washed up on Siesta Key Tuesday and then on Wednesday another manatee was found dead in Englewood. This brings this week’s total to eight manatees so far this week between Bradenton and Charlotte County.

“We’re dealing with endangered species…we’re really concerned,” says Gretchen Lovewell, a staff scientist and stranding manager for Mote Marine.

Mote Marine has been assisting FWC with rescues and recoveries. FWC reports another 11 manatee deaths by March 5th, all suspected of red tide and bringing this year’s total to 19. The cause of death for this week’s cases are pending test results.

Lovewell says, “We’re getting a lot of calls about sick, dead or distressed sea turtles, as well as manatees.”

Lovewell says as the weather warms up, manatees return to the area, and swim right into the red tide bloom off shore.