Pinellas crews clear dead fish after new wave of red tide

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The long red tide bloom that’s plagued Pinellas County beaches left dead fish on the beach and irritants in the air Tuesday, especially from Madeira Beach North through Indian Rocks Beach.

Officials said high levels of red tide also persisted in parts of Boca Ciega Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway. However, Clearwater Beach and most of North Pinellas was relatively clear Tuesday.

On Indian Shores, Darlene Eimar pointed to a large, dead fish left lying on the sand even after a clean-up crew had passed.

“Why is it still here?” she asked, frustrated that red tide is affecting her annual vacation to this beach.

A contractor explained his machinery breaks up large fish, leaving some of the remains in the sand; something they try to avoid. Later, a crew came and shoveled the fish into a trailer.

By late Tuesday morning, crews had cleaned up most of the dead fish.

Red tide has been a challenge for businesses in places like John’s Pass Village. Captain Dylan Hubbard at Hubbard’s Marina says the number of customers is down even though they’re still catching lots of fish.

“We’re able to get out there past red tide into clean, blue water and catch plenty of fish. This is not affecting our ability to go offshore and catch and eat plenty of fish,” he said.

Hubbard is the fourth generation in his family to operate the marina here. He says his family talks about a worse red tide in the early 1970s when they couldn’t get the fishing boats out.

Still, this red tide has been the worst in recent memory. Hubbard hopes a cold front to arrive later this week will help.

“Wind and waves will break it up and cooler temperatures will help arrest its growth,” he said.

For people in Pinellas County, the end of this red tide bloom can’t come soon enough.