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National Weather Service issues red tide warning for SWFL beaches; Collier included

06 August 2018

The sparkling white sand of Florida's southwestern beaches aren't dotted with sunbathers this week. At least 90 sea turtles have been found stranded as the tide stretches well into nesting season.

Florida's southwest waterways are now under assault by two different combatants: A red tide bloom from the Gulf of Mexico and a separate toxic algae bloom, which many believe is linked to discharge from Lake Okeechobee.

Wildlife are washing up on Florida beaches and lakes, and it's because of an algae bloom that has lasted nine months. Tissue taken from the whale shark's organs and muscles tested positive for brevetoxin, a neurotoxin created by the algae.

The Florida red tide organism, known as Karenia Brevis, produces brevetoxins that can affect the central nervous system of fish and other vertebrates, causing these animals to die.

It's also affecting businesses along the coast.

Officials say almost 400 sea turtles have died because of the toxic bloom.

A wind shift is likely what caused the thousands of dead fish to wash ashore on normally pristine Sanibel Island this past weekend. FWC arrived and is helping to transport the manatee to SeaWorld in Orlando, where it will be treated and monitored until it can be released back into the wild.

But the bloom is not only risky to marine animals.

The blooms are killing fish and marine life. "We will continue to support Florida's biologists to study the best ways to combat red tide, and our state wildlife and environmental professionals will aid Florida communities that are being impacted".

Usually, cold spells break up or kill off some of the algae, but not this time.

The toxin in red tide is dispersed into the air when bubbles in sea foam pop, Fanara said.

The Miami Herald reported the blue-green algae outbreak had grabbed national attention.

National Weather Service issues red tide warning for SWFL beaches; Collier included