Southwest Florida beaches are littered with various sizes of fish and eels– all dead– that washed ashore following a red tide that has been reported along the once pristine beaches. Following the red tide, Fort Meyers shared that the town plans to use heavy equipment to remove the creatures.
A video posted on social media by Suzanne Stoker shows countless fish and other marine life washed ashore Fort Meyer’s Beach.
Fish kills suspected to be related to red tide have been reported in southwest Florida in recent weeks, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. (Suzanne Stoker / LOCAL NEWS X /TMX)
Last week, the Florida Department of Health in Lee County issued a health alert after waters around Lynn Hall Memorial Park near Times Square on Fort Myers Beach were tested and found to have alert levels of red tide.
“An increased level of dead fish washing up with tides can be caused by Red Tide, which is a toxic algae bloom that periodically happens,” Fort Myers town spokesperson Jennifer Dexter shared in a statement.
Footage shared on social media shows dead creatures on Fort Myers Beach. (Suzanne Stoker / LOCAL NEWS X /TMX)
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), red tide occurs “when microscopic algae multiply to higher-than-normal concentrations.” Also known as harmful algal blooms (HABs) the red tide in Southwest Florida is K. brevis. This specific species produces brevetoxins, which is capable of killing fish, birds and other marine life. The FWC also said it can be harmful to humans and cause respiratory issues.
According to a press release, that approval was received on Monday, Feb. 27, and Fort Meyers Town is using equipment from Lee County starting Tuesday, Feb. 28. (Suzanne Stoker / LOCAL NEWS X /TMX)
On Monday, Feb. 27, the Town of Fort Myers Beach announced that staff has, “been working on the beach daily to remove an increasing amount of dead fish that have started washing up daily.” The town is using equipment from Lee County and started working on clearing the beaches on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
“The Town’s Environmental Services Manager started working last week with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to receive official approval in the form of a permit to use heavier equipment to remove the fish.” Dexter shared.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, dead fish and eels also been reported in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties.