CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- A report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife showed manatee deaths increased in 2018.
Local residents claim the sea life deaths are a result of the algae and red tide in the waterways.
FWC pulled a dead manatee out of the water at Cape Coral Yacht Club Tuesday. However, biologists haven't released an official cause of death.
A group of people was present when the manatee was pulled out of the water, and they blame the Lake Okeechobee releases for the issue. "As they were pulling it up the other ones were getting in closer trying to jump on top of the dead manatee, as if they were saying don't take her," said Nikki Ross.
FWC's website showed manatee deaths from red tide have increased in 2018 hitting a total of 80 suspected deaths from red tide.
The site claimed the largest manatee deaths ever recorded were in 2013 totaling at 277.
Other sea life including sea turtles, sharks, and fish have also been affected by the water quality.
FWC asks beachgoers who spot dead or injured manatees to call their Wildlife Alert number at 1-888-404-3922.