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Business as usual for some tour operators on Marco Island

Posted at 7:30 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 07:16:12-04

Despite a few recent signs of red tide, Marco Island virtually unaffected by fish kills that have devastated marine life in Lee and Charlotte counties.

 “It’s pretty clear water out here right now, there was a small bloom of red tide out here two weeks ago, other than that we haven’t seen and red tide or algae drifting in,” said guide Jake Pappas.

The kayak industry hasn’t skipped a beat, even with images of algae being released from Lake Okeechobee have captured worldwide attention.

"We’re seeing April numbers for the month of July,” said Glenn Livesey, of Paddle Marco.

Livesey says most of his customers are from out of state, or out of the country, so algae is the last thing on their minds.

 “To be honest, half the people don’t even know there is an algae or red tide problem, some will say, Glenn what are the dead fish? We’ll explain it to them, but it isn’t as bad as it is up north.”

It’s the same story at Rising Tide Explorers, where business is booming compared to this time last summer, and the fish kills to the north have a lot to do with it.

“Is it driving people down to Collier County? I think so. because down here we are not seeing those strong effects that we are seeing up north,” said Rising Tide operator Ryan Young.

Young says last year a lot of marine life died off after Hurricane Irma ravaged the island, but a lot of those animals are starting to come back.