Volunteers shovel dead fish from Holmes Beach

- On Holmes Beach, it's become a community effort to rid the beaches of dead fish from red tide.  Tuesday morning, residents and visitors came together to clean up. 

"Two days ago when we came out, this whole beach was filled with dead fish," said James Thomas. 

Those dead fish are now gone, but as red tide continues to linger off the coast of Holmes Beach, people have stepped in to help.  

"We realized we just needed to go ahead and have a cleanup," said Thomas. 

Thomas, the city's code enforcement officer, helped organize a community clean up.  Residents and visitors pitched in to help clear the beaches of rotting fish. 

"We all work together because everybody has the same interest. We love the beach," he said. 

Homes Beach police officer Mike Walker spent his day off scooping up fish from the beaches he grew up on. 

"Ultimately you work here, but you live here, too," he explained. 

As he combed the beach, more continued to wash up. 

"I found a couple of trash bags full of fish. It was more than I actually expected out here. A lot of them are covered up by the sand. You'd walk over one and then walk back and find two more," he said. 

Volunteers came back with bags full. Dumpsters have been placed near beach access areas by Waste Pro. They are hopeful visitors will continue to pitch in.

"We are expecting quite a bit of waste that needs to be picked up and it needs to go somewhere so it can be disposed of properly," said Adam Sherrard with Waste Pro. 

LINK: Red tide FAQ: What is it, and where does it come from?

Instead of just sitting back and waiting for the red tide to pass, Holmes Beach and its visitors and residents want to make sure they can do whatever it takes to get their beaches back to beautiful.

"We are just going to monitor it. We are going to continue to work with Manatee County and all the powers to be that know the science of all of this and try and be proactive and not wait ‘til there’s a problem," said Thomas. 

Dumpsters for red tide waste can be found at these beach accesses: 30th Street, 36th Street, 46th Street, 67th Street and 71st Street. The dumpsters are only for red tide waste and will be emptied on a regular basis to keep the smell to a minimum.

To volunteer to clean up the red tide waste, contact Code Enforcement at 941-708-5804, x329 or x330.

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