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Red Tide causing dead fish to wash up in Naples, a month after first blooms were spotted

Posted at 7:05 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 19:14:50-05

NAPLES — Dead fish are washing up along beaches in Naples.

Red Tide has now been in the area for more than a month, and experts tell us, they don’t know when it’s going to let up.

Tourists are noticing the fish too, like Diane Lawrence, who came here all the way from Idaho.

"It’s rather concerning to see dead fish," said Lawrence.

Lawrence said Red Tide was a problem she hadn’t heard about before coming to the beach.

"You come to look at the shells. You don’t expect the obstacles of fish you have to hop around," said Lawrence.

"I think we’re still in the thick of it unfortunately," said Dr. Mike Parsons, a professor of Marine Science at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Dr. Parsons has been following the data gathered by organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), showing the blooms centered around the Naples area.

But he’s also planning to collect samples himself.

"We’ll be going out later this week if the weather holds to look at some of the stations offshore to see if we see Red Tide out there," said Dr. Parsons.

Dr. Parsons said one thing that may be feeding the blooms is dead fish adding nutrients to the water. They could be removed, but at a cost.

"Is it worth the investment to remove the fish to have that reduction in impact? So those are some of the economic sides of things we’re doing," said Parsons.

Lawrence said, she hopes they do something, because the fish and the smell concern her.

"Hopefully this is something that we can control. This looks like it’s something that is out of control and not very healthy," said Lawrence.

Dr. Parsons said, if you compare what we’re seeing right now to the blooms of 2017 and 2018, it’s slightly smaller and more patchy, but he said it could continue to grow, and he hopes his trip out into the gulf later this week gives him more data about how much bigger this bloom could get.