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Sanibel brings in more workers for fish kill cleanup

Posted at 11:45 PM, Aug 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-04 23:46:17-04

The City of Sanibel continued their efforts to clean their beaches and canals over the weekend, after an unprecedented volume of dead fish and other marine animals washed up on the island, killed by red tide in the Gulf of Mexico. Saturday, the city increased the number of contracted workers to 111 in order to help remove the dead fish. 

The city also had 7 flatboats in the island's canals to remove dead sea life floating in those waterways.

Karen Harrison of New York saw the clean-up crews working on the beach after checking into her hotel Saturday morning. It was the first time she realized the problems being caused by red tide.

"I've been taking stand-up paddleboard lessons and thought I'd come down here and get in the water," Harrison said. "The first thing they said when we checked in was, 'you can't get in the water.'"

Still, she wanted to check out the beach.

"We get to the beach, and there's dead fish everywhere," she said. "Tears came to my eyes."

One of the areas hit hardest by the fish kill was Lighthouse Beach. Josef Achmann, who has been visiting from Germany for the past couple of weeks, said on Saturday evening that Lighthouse Beach looked much better than it had in days, after the clean-up crews had removed many of the fish.

"Small fish, big fish, all kinds of fish," he said. "It's so very sad, actually."

Harrison said she hopes the water problems in Southwest Florida get more national media attention.

"I watch Fox News, CNN and MSNBC," Harrison said. "Nobody's talking about it."

"People should know what's going on," she added. "It's like a war, a wildlife war."