Pinellas struggles to keep up with red tide

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Contractors continued working Monday to remove tons of dead fish from Pinellas beaches.

Kelli Levy, environmental services director, said her office was also getting calls from residents along Boca Ciega Bay, Jungle Prada, and nearby canals.

“Since Friday evening, we’ve had a fresh live kill from the shoreline to a half-mile out,” said Jay Gunter, regional manager for DRC Emergency Services, a contractor hired by the county to deal with the fish kill.  “That’s Mother Nature. I don’t know how you keep up with it.”

Contractors were working from Clearwater to Pass-a-Grille. Gunter estimated around 200 tons of fish have been removed from the shoreline to landfills. He said four shrimp boats were working to intercept fish farther out.

Treasure Island homeowner Craig Kampel said the smell was worse over the weekend. He said he had to bathe his small dog because it smelled like dead fish after walking onto his dock.

Caddy’s On the Beach, the popular restaurant in Treasure Island, closed Sunday because of the bad air. Bartender Amanda Hudson suggested people call before heading to the beach because conditions change day by day.

“I have people calling a week prior to their vacation and I have to say it’s a day-to-day-type thing. What’s here today might not be here tomorrow,” said Hudson.

Levy said the red tide bloom extends 15 to 20 miles offshore. She said she can’t predict how long the bloom may remain. Current beach conditions for Pinellas County can also be found on the Visit St. Pete-Clearwater website.

LINK: More FOX 13 red tide coverage