Red tide, dead fish plague tourists

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"We've also had issues for Collier, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties too".

Red tide is a "naturally occurring algae that has been documented along Florida's Gulf Coast since the 1840s and occurs almost every year".

They say almost 300 sea turtles have died since the toxic bloom began in the fall, that's about double the average number.

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Dolphins, manatees and even a whale shark have washed up dead on the Gulf of Mexico beaches because of what locals call the Florida "red tide". These samples are analyzed for detection and enumeration of Karenia brevis-the species responsible for Florida red tide-along with water quality parameters, phytoplankton community composition, and red tide toxins, officials said.

Algal blooms can start about 40 miles offshore and come to the surface with rising water. Currents may push the blooms to shore and chemical conditions on the shoreline can help the algae sustain itself. Red tide is a type of marine algae that undergoes an explosive growth and begins producing toxins. Those who are looking for spots free of red tide can visit https://visitbeaches.org and myfwc.com/redtidestatus to see which beaches have been affected. Polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee are blamed for the toxic algae problems. Fanara said there was an 18-month bloom that spanned the state from 2004-2006. The algae bloom - which gets its name because the microscopic algae often turn water red - has already lasted since November of past year, and could stretch into 2019, some scientists are saying.

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