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Water-Related News

Red tide continues to kill sea life, annoy beachgoers

The stench is evident as soon the door opens to the outside.

Christina and Jimmie Robbs, who traveled from Greeley, Colorado, arrived Sept. 24 to find area beaches cluttered with dead fish. They were lingering near the Coquina Beach concession area when asked for a comment about the red tide.

“It’s Mother Nature. There’s nothing we can do about it,” Jimmie Robbs said. The couple packed up and left the island later in search of a better beach.

A rank odor of dead fish and sea life continued to permeate on much of Anna Maria Island Sept. 29 as a heavy concentration of red tide persisted.

Parking lots at public beaches were virtually empty. Lifeguards were displaying warnings and the Manatee County public works tractor continued raking and removing fish carcasses from the shore.

The bloom of the microscopic organism Karenia brevis, though common in the Gulf of Mexico and ocean waters, was experiencing a particularly heavy outbreak. The algae bloom, which discolors the water and sometimes appears red — hence the name — is associated with the production of neurotoxins and depletes dissolved oxygen. It can prove deadly for fish and other marine life and dangerous for those on land.