SARASOTA (FOX 13) - Dead fish are washing up on gulf beaches throughout the region due to an outbreak of a toxic algae bloom known as red tide.
Thousands of dead fish washed up on gulf beaches over the weekend. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say Sarasota and Manatee counties are being affected the most.
“We come out here, the fish are dead and it stinks like heck. I can’t take that smell,” complained one beachgoer, who immediately left Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island.
Red tide releases a toxin in the water that is deadly to wildlife. Hayley Rutger with Mote Marine Laboratory says that same toxin is released into the air.
“If you have asthma or something like COPD you’re going to be more susceptible to the toxins,” Rutger warned.
Rutger says Red Tide is a naturally occurring algae and the dead fish is not a result of recent sewage dumping during recent storms.
Florida Fish and Wildlife continually updates its maps of red tide results. For more information, click here.