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City of Sanibel guidance for property owners removing dead fish from beaches

Red Tide
Posted at 9:36 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 21:36:03-05

SANIBEL, Fla. — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Foundation (FWC) and other agencies are reporting the presence of a patchy red tide bloom alongshore and up to 20 miles offshore of Lee and Collier counties.

Currently, the Sanibel Public Works Department is picking up dead fish along the public beaches as conditions warrant.

Property owners and managers are authorized to remove dead fish from the beach along their respective properties.

Anyone removing fish from the beach must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Only dead fish may be removed from the beach. This ensures that the beach habitat for Sanibel's wildlife is protected during the cleanup process.
  • Dead fish may only be removed by hand, using hand tools such as pitchforks or grabbers. The use of shovels and mechanical equipment is strictly prohibited.
  • All fish should be double-bagged and placed in an onsite dumpster for disposal.
  • At this time, NO large sea life has been impacted. If you have large fish, marine mammals, or sea turtles that are too large to handle, please contact the City of Sanibel Police Dispatch at (239) 472-3111.
  • No motorized vehicles are permitted on the beach and only those vehicles authorized by the City Manager may be used in cleanup activities.

Additional information on red tide is available at:

On Dec. 15, the Lee County Health Department issued a red tide health alert for Lighthouse Beach Park.

In the State of Florida, the Health Department is responsible for testing the waters at public beaches and informing the public of the water quality.

The extent of the bloom and its impacts to Sanibel's beaches, including possible fish kills and respiratory irritation, can vary greatly from day to day and even hour to hour depending on winds, tides, and currents. The City of Sanibel is monitoring conditions very closely.

For current red tide conditions and forecasts use the links below:

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC):
GCOOS red tide forecast:

Lee County Health Department:

For further information, please contact the City of Sanibel Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700.