FWC: Matlacha fish kill due to red tide

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- People in part of the old fishing village Matlacha are dealing with the effects of a fish kill.  In fact, Florida Fish and Wildlife tells Four in Your Corner that red tide killed the fish.

Red tide can be found right now in medium to high levels in several different parts of our area. High levels along Charlotte County, and medium to low levels along Lee and Collier counties.

As a result, what began as a slow trickle of just a few dead fish a couple days ago is now several hundred dead fish flooding into a Matlacha canal.

"You hate to see it," says resident Patrick Borich.

And the smell is even worse.  These are all pinfish -- fisherman use them as bait to catch other, larger fish.

The people who live at the Sea Isle Resort tell Fox 4 that there hasn't been a fish kill there in six years.

But according to Florida Fish and Wildlife, a high concentration of red tide is to blame for this kill.  The toxic algae bloom is also responsible for fish kills happening right now at Matanzas Pass, Sanibel Island, and Big Carlos Pass.

FWC says it's naturally-occurring, and it may not get better any time soon.  The red tide could last in our area a few weeks, or even months.

But in Matlacha, the fish kill seems to be fairly isolated.  Most business owners we spoke with didn't know about it, and commercial fishermen tell us it won't effect their business because they fish so far off shore.

Even the recreational fishermen seem unfazed.  "Everybody around here is pretty hardy bunch. And usually at night, on the fishing-est bridge in the world, they're be 30 to 40 to 50 people this time of year. So, no, this won't stop them," says Borich.

But if the fish kills show up near restaurants or on more beaches, things could change.  "Our industry is so much tourism, that people see this from all over the world and say, 'I don't want to go there, because I can't get into the water.'" says Borich.

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