Red tide problem worsens, spreads north to Pinellas

Image 1 of 2

It has been stinky at Manatee and Sarasota County beaches for more than 2 months because of red tide. Now the stink-fest is invading Pinellas County.

The highest concentration of red tide seems to be at Apollo Beach, South Tampa Bay and the Maximo area near the Skyway Bridge.

On Monday, thousands of dead, decaying fish lined the shoreline near the Skyway.

Red tide is caused when a particular kind of algae blooms. The algae releases a toxin that makes it difficult to breathe, especially if you have respiratory problems. It can also cause massive fish kills.

Back in 2013 in Southwest Florida, 200 manatees died because of red tide.

Red tide was first identified back in the 1500s when Spanish explorers were forced to deal with it. These days, many people think that man is making a naturally occurring problem worse.

Several months ago, the City of St. Petersburg released more than 100 million gallons of partially treated sewage water in to Tampa Bay.

Many environmentalists say the algae that causes red tide is feeding on the nutrients in the water, which compels FOX 13's Ken Suarez to ask this question, "Is there a connection between municipalities releasing partially-treated sewage into the bay or gulf and red tide?" 

Scientists say they don't know how long red tide is going to be here this time. What they do know is that it has been around for two-and-a-half months, and it is spreading north.

Stay with FOX 13 as we follow the story.