While the toxic algae blooms known as "red tides" are common off the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is calling the current event the worst in a decade.
Sally Bowman takes a picture of a dead Red fish that washed ashore after dying in a red tide on August 1, 2018 in Captiva, Florida. Respiratory irritation and murky clumps of red drift algae have been reported from Collier to Sarasota counties.
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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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is now examining samples of the algae from different locations along the west coast.
What is Florida Red Tide?
Lee County has paired with private contractors to begin removing dead fish from its beaches, but officials warned that it could be a long and ongoing process.
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Algal blooms can start about 40 miles offshore and come to the surface with rising water.
The toxin in red tide is dispersed into the air when bubbles in sea foam pop, Fanara said. Polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee are blamed for the toxic algae problems. Instead, they're strewn with the corpses of dead marine creatures, victims of a red tide. Bill Nelson, a Democrat who is being challenged by Scott in the November election, said Thursday that he has asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the potential health impacts of exposure to algae that has spread in waterways along both coasts.
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