A video shared to Twitter by reporter Josh Rojas shows the devastating effects of red tide on fish in the Tampa Bay area.
Canals in neighborhoods throughout St. Petersberg have filled with dead fish and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission believes nearby blooms of deadly algae to be the culprit.
"Our fish kill staff have responded to multiple reports of dead fish in this area," FWC's Carly Jones told Bay News 9. "Red tide is the likely cause, as it is present in the area.
Red tide blooms have been noted throughout the Tampa Bay area for a month and recent reports show that the harmful organism is still present in waterways from Sarasota to Pasco County, with the highest concentration appearing in Hillsborough County. There is some debate as to whether the algal bloom was kickstarted by the recent reservoir leak at the Piney Point phosphate plant site.
Whatever may have caused the red tide, there's no doubting its effects on the area. Residents are finding canals and dock areas choked with dead fish, including some massive goliath groupers.
Out for a ride this morning on Coffeepot Bayou in St. Pete, and the smell from red tide is overwhelming. Be careful out there this weekend folks. pic.twitter.com/zy5614fNDl— Eunic Ortiz (@eunicortiz) July 1, 2021
St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin noted that crews had collected more than 6 tons of dead fish following the die-off. "As fish continue to wash up, we'll continue our efforts," she said of the ongoing problem.
Our @StPeteFL crews have collected more than 10,000 dead fish (6 tons) along our shorelines and waterways in the past week. This cleanup impacts our level of service in other areas, but we recognize the importance. As fish continue to wash up, we'll continue our efforts.— Dr. Kanika Tomalin (@StPeteTomalin) July 8, 2021
The St. Petersburg Police Department reports that more than 15 tons of fish have been cleaned up by crews. They say the "post storm wave of dead fish" is the fault of Tropical Storm Elsa.
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