PALMETTO, Fla. - Out on the water, Tim Lauer ran into a batch of what he believes is red tide during a fishing tournament on Friday.
"My throat started getting scratchy and it kept getting worse and worse," he said. "We went between the two landfills near the Alafia River. There were mass lines and there were hundreds of dead fish as far as you could see, from trout fish to mullet and a lot of bait fish."
Coming into the southwest corner near MacDill Air Force Base, he captured a trail of dead fish on video.
"Our biggest concern, that it’s only the beginning of June, and August is when we normally start seeing red tide," he said.
The FWC's red tide map shows low to medium concentrations of red tide off the coast of Pinellas County and into parts of Tampa Bay.
After 215 million gallons of wastewater was spilled from Piney Point into the bay, USF's College of Marine Science began extensive studies and research.
Red tide occurs naturally, but it can be fueled by nutrients.
Tom Fraser, the dean of USF's Marine College, said that could be anything from fertilizer that we put on our lawns, to leaky septic tanks, storm water, and infrastructure problems.
"The reality is there are certainly high concentrations of nutrients in South Florida waters, and it's a combination of all of those sources that continue to contribute to not only red tide, but other harmful algae blooms in our areas," he said.
This red tide has appeared earlier than years past. Fraser said there's a lot of steps we all need to make to stop nutrients from entering our waterways.
"I don't think it would be fair necessarily to point a finger at any one individual. This is a Florida problem when I know the state's working really, really hard to address it. But the fact of the matter is that we all have to continue to work on it," he added.