The great red tide in Tampa, Florida contributed to more than 600 tons of dead fish

Fish deaths suspected to be linked to the red tide have been reported in Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota and Lee counties over the past week, according to the commission, along with respiratory irritation in many from the same counties.

The flowers are not necessarily red or blue-green. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that “the flowers may look like moss, scum, carpets or paint on the surface of the water. A flower can change the color of the water to green, blue, brown, red, or some other color. “
“The red tide in parts of Tampa Bay over the past few days has been tested at ten to 17 times the concentration considered ‘high’, which can cause significant respiratory problems in humans as well as the death of fish,” Pinellas County officials said in a red tide. updated July 13.

Community members mobilize to see change

Members of the Suncoast Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to protect oceans and beaches, and other members of the community rallied against the issue on Saturday, hoping to voice their concerns to the governor of Florida Ron DeSantis.

Thomas Paterek, president of Suncoast Surfrider, told CNN he knew he had to do something when a friend called him in tears over the dead fish on the beach outside their rental business of water.

“Hearing that phone call started a fire in me, to say that if nothing happens, the community has to lead this,” Paterek said.

He said he decided to hold the rally in an attempt to bring about immediate change, including shutting down the nearby Piney Point sewage tank and declaring a state of emergency to help clear the tracks navigable.

“I think everyone in the community is frustrated,” he said. “When you see dead dolphins in the water, when you see dead manatees in the water, dead sea turtles … when you have captains who have been fishing the area for decades say they don’t have never seen anything like it is enough to declare a state of emergency and not just say that this is another harmful algal bloom of natural origin. ”

Big bloom could be connected to Piney Point

Scientists feared a large bloom was imminent after the Piney Point phosphogypsum pile dumped nutrient-rich sewage into Tampa waters in April. High concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus were among the descriptors of most concern, as they are known to fuel phytoplankton growth, which can lead to potentially toxic algal blooms.
“While it is unlikely that we will be able to directly correlate the environmental damage that manifests in the Tampa or Sarasota bays, it would be absurd to suggest that the impact is not significant.” Justin Bloom, founder of environmental organization Suncoast Waterkeeper, told CNN in June.
The Florida Department of Health notes that red tides were documented in the southern Gulf of Mexico in the 1700s and along the Gulf Coast of Florida since the 1840s. But the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the The microorganism responsible for the red tide was not identified until 1946.
And although algae blooms have been recorded for hundreds of years, the Environmental Protection Agency points out, “Nutrient pollution from human activities makes the problem worse, leading to more serious blooms that occur more often. “
In 2018, a massive red tide along Florida’s southwest coast killed 2,000 tons of marine life and caused $ 8 million in trade losses.

State and federal agency maps for the summer and fall of 2018 show strong red tide outbreaks in six counties, from Pinellas in the north to Collier in the south.

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