CLEARWATER, Fla. - As red tide continues to plague Bay Area shores and waters, officials will learn just how extensive the impacts are on local businesses.
Red tide has exploded in the Bay Area over the last month and it is still anyone’s guess just how long this bloom will last.
In Pinellas, dozens of boats deploy daily to pull dead marine life from the water. The rotting fish help to fuel red tide. Officials have been powerless to stop the bloom from spreading, but have kept on top of clean-up efforts to try to prevent the foul-smelling problem from getting worse.
So far, Pinellas County officials say it has pulled nearly 1,300 tons of dead marine life from its waters over the last few weeks.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, along with the Department of Environmental Protection, have also set up shop in St. Petersburg. They say their scientists and staff will be on the ground there until the problem finally goes away.
"There’s been an exponential increase in the monitoring that’s happening out in the bay to give as much real-time awareness or where the impacts are heading and providing what I would consider one-click access so the public can be informed. There are resources, aerial resources that provide real-time information to see where the bloom is headed, the extent of it," said Shawn Hamilton, interim secretary at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Unfortunately, the red tide problem only got worse for Pinellas County beaches this week. FWC red tide maps show high concentrations of the toxic algae present from Pass-A-Grille to Indian Rocks Beach. Dead fish sightings have been reported on several Pinellas beaches as well.
Use the following links to track red tide conditions and to read detailed updates about respiratory issues and fish kills: