Red tide in Florida is not new.
Mote and FWC have jointly collected 608 water samples through 14 days of routine coastal surveys between Tampa Bay and San Carlos Bay, Florida. But scientists studying climate change say the rising temperature of the seas is likely to fuel even more harmful algae blooms like Red Tide. Fish populations generally bounce back after a Red Tide, but the toxic bloom is also wreaking havoc among more sensitive animals.
The current red tide outbreak is considered the worst in years.
Red tide is common along Florida beaches, but experts - and native Floridians - are saying the thousands of dead fish, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and manatees they're seeing are the worst they've ever seen.
Brad Dalton, deputy press secretary in the Office of Communications at the Florida Department of Health, says the eye, nose and throat irritation typically goes away once a person leaves an area with red tide.
"While cost is always a consideration in the things that we do, this is a huge top priority both for public safety and the local economy", said Azzara.
In Cortez, Swordfish Grill General Manager Bob Slicker said the red tide was impacting business on that side of the bay too.
"Are they in fact related?".
Mote research is now developing hand-held sensors for local shellfish growers to use to document for state and federal health agencies whether their cultivation waters and/or shellfish product contain red tide toxins.
When did this Red Tide start?
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said eating shellfish from a restaurant or buying it from a store is safe during red tide.
It has shown up in very low concentrations at the southern tip of Pinellas County, and according to FWC, there is some good news. Unlike satellites, drones will be less impeded by cloud cover.
Please do not remove sawfish, marine turtles, manatees, dolphins or whales.
It is critical that Gulf Coast communities, organizations and government agencies at the local to national level continue and enhance their support to enable much-needed advances in red tide research, monitoring, control and mitigation. She said in the past 20 years that she's worked there, they've maybe only had a cancellation or two due to red tide.
On some beaches, it's impossible to walk without tiptoeing around the carcasses of marine life. Blooms reported in southwest Florida have left beaches empty in recent weeks, with dead fish consistently washing onshore.
Federal assistance may also be on the way, as Congressman Francis Rooney is lobbying for the White House to declare a state of emergency for Southwest Florida and activate federal agencies that would be able to help with the cleanup.
Last November. That makes it the longest lasting Red Tide this decade.
Do humans have a role in starting a Red Tide bloom?