November 25, 2013 at 3:13 am #1292MikeKeymaster
City workers used a tractor to clean up 3,000 pounds of dead fish
that littered the shore in Southwest Florida caused by an increase
in red tide bloom. The level has been increased in some areas from
low to medium, according to a Collier County report released
Tuesday, the day of the cleanup. The toxic microscopic algae bloom
has infected the area for the past two months. “We’ll continue to
monitor the beaches day after day,” said Joe Boscaglia, the city’s
parks superintendent. “We hope it doesn’t get any worse.” Red tide
is the common name for a bloom of microscopic algae, called karenia
brevis, that releases a toxin that can kill fish and cause coughing,
sneezing and watery eyes in humans. People with chronic respiratory
illnesses, such as asthma, were advised to stay away from the beach.
Last year nearly 480 tons of dead fish were hauled away during four
weeks in September and October.
Number two report
A patchy red tide continued to move around Lee County waters Friday,
killing fish and fouling air in some areas while leaving others
toxin free. Red tide conditions change from hour to hour — as Capt.
Harvey Hamilton found out — which makes predicting the phenomenon
extremely difficult. At 8 a.m. Friday on a slack tide, Hamilton was
returning from a run to North Captiva for Bokeelia Barge and
Transport when he called The News-Press on his cell phone. When
Hamilton returned to the same spot two hours later, the fish and
stench were gone — probably dragged away by a strong falling tide.
Heading back to Bokeelia, Hamilton came across a half-mile line of
dead fish running north and south in Charlotte Harbor moving west on
the tide. The fish, from a dozen species — including seatrout,
burrfish, hogchokers, spadefish, eels, sheepshead, filefish and
triggerfish — had not been there 90 minutes before. Red tide is a
natural phenomenon caused by a population explosion, or bloom, of
the single-cell alga Karenia brevis, or K. brevis, which produces a
powerful toxin. At normal concentrations, less than 1,000 cells per
liter of water, K. brevis is not a problem; during a bloom, the
extra toxin can render filter-feeding shellfish poisonous, kill
fish, marine mammals, sea turtles and marine birds and cause
respiratory distress in humans. Red tide started showing up in
Southwest Florida early this week after being absent from area
waters for six weeks.
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