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Boca Grande Beach goers react to health alert issued for red tide bloom

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 22:44:22-04

BOCA GRANDE, Fla. — A health alert has been issued for a red tide bloom near Boca Grande Beach.

The alert comes from the Florida Department of Health in Lee County. The conditions are impacting some unsuspecting people at the beach.

“Well I noticed a few dead fish I was surprised to see, which is a little disconcerting.”

On the sandy shores of Boca Grande Beach, families can be seen camped out with their parasols. The occasional swimmer taking a leisurely lap in the water. But underneath the surface, a looming problem.

“Everywhere I walked down there was a few of them," said Jeanne Carneynickerson, who is from Rotunda West. "I wouldn’t say it was where they would have to come and shovel them off, there was just a few here and there. Not bad, not bad.”

On Wednesday, health officials issued a health alert- warning the public of a red tide bloom that was sighted near the beach. Carneynickerson and her family are from Rotunda West. She says this red tide alert is not as bad as one that arrived at the beach back in 2018 where plenty of dead fish washed ashore.

“I don’t think it’s as bad as this year, I really don’t," said Carneynickerson. "I see that it’s much, much better and people seem to be enjoying the beach more and not as concerned about it so I think it’s a good year.”

“We knew there was red tide in Tampa but we didn’t realize it was here today," says Debi Thompson, visiting from Sidney, Ohio.

According to health officials, red tide can be problematic for people who may have mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms. That can be eye, nose and throat irritation similar to cold symptoms. Some people on the beach we spoke to said they noticed a couple of dead fish along the shore.

“They were at the beach the other day, which was down a little bit, and they had a lot of dead fish down there but then we moved down a couple of spots and haven’t seen anything,” says Thompson.

But red tide symptoms can travel through the air. Health officials say those with asthma might experience more severe symptoms and should avoid beach areas, going indoors in an air-conditioned space. As for some of these beach goers….

“I think we’re just going to enjoy it," said Thompson. "I mean, if it got really bad, we would stay out but no- I’m not too concerned about it.”

Carneynickerson said, “No, not at all. Nope. But we’re enjoying it and if it stays just like this, yup.”

You can find more information about red tide online right here as well as on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.