CLEARWATER BEACH (FOX 13) - The toxic algae bloom has spread to several Pinellas County beaches, including North Clearwater Beach, where officials are trying to stay ahead of the fish kills.
Early Wednesday morning, dead fish lined the beach, but by 8 a.m. crews had removed them. This week, at least 17 tons of fish were collected along Pinellas County beaches, according to county officials.
Jason Beisel, spokesperson for the City of Clearwater, said the bloom is significantly off shore and that no odor or water discoloration has been detected. Earlier this week, Kelli Levy, the Division Director for Pinellas County Environmental Management said the red tide levels at Clearwater Beach were low, but other areas just south of it have medium levels.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is expected to share a mid-week update on the red tide bloom by Wednesday afternoon.
“We’ve been prepared for this since we saw it down in Sarasota and Manatee Counties,” Beisel explained to FOX 13. “We have crews at the ready, out several times a day checking the beaches and checking the waters.”
A crew was spotted early Wednesday morning using a tractor to pull a device that scooped up the dead wildlife. Beisel said Clearwater Beach remains open for beachgoers.
Fish kills have also been spotted on Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach. County officials also said that by cleaning up those beaches early in the day, that visitors will still come.
Pinellas County Commissioners are expected to vote in favor of a $1.3 million grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to help pay for the resources the county is putting towards red tide relief.
Residents and visitors can report fish kills to the FWC at 800-636-0511.