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Red tide killing fish along SWFL coast

Posted at 7:49 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 19:49:23-04

MANASOTA KEY, Fla. -- Hundreds of dead fish have been popping up on the shores of Southwest Florida, as a red tide bloom lurks in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Brand new tests by Florida Fish and Wildlife detecting high red-tide levels along Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Many beach-goers on Tuesday in Englewood said they were enjoying the sunshine but staying out of the water. 

"It smells, it doesn't smell great and it doesn't look good so I think I'm just going to lay on the beach and get some sun instead", says Anthony Pagano. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife says the piles of dead fish are caused by the red tide and have been naturally occurring in the Gulf since the 1800's. 

The red tide forms about 10 to 40 miles offshore and is brought in by currents and winds. The toxic algae is known for fish kills along Southwest Florida's coast, and respiratory problems for people. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife don't know if the red tide will travel down to Lee and Collier Counties or how long the red tide will last. They try to understand the winds and the currents while they work with partners at NOAA and at the University of South Florida. 

For now, beach-goers say they plan to stay out of the water and stay away until it clears.