Water-Related News

Red tide getting worse in Southwest Florida

Red tide lines Southwest Florida’s coast from south Lee County into Sarasota.

And the bloom appears to be growing.

Health officials in Charlotte County issued an alert for the presence of a red tide bloom near Whidden Key, east of Lemon Bay and Buccaneer Bend. The water sample was taken a week ago.

When Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani sees this, it reminds him of the last time a hurricane came through Southwest Florida. After Irma, a red tide bloom went up and down the coast for about two years.

“It looks a little bit like a repeat of what happened. After Irma, we had tremendous, tremendous amount of rainfall associated with a hurricane that put a lot of nutrients in the water, other pollutants, gas and oil and things,” Cassani said.

There aren’t any fishkills near the coastline yet, but photos show the Gulf is a color wheel of red, brown, green and blue.

“It looks pretty broadly distributed right now near shore,” Cassani said.

Cassani said it looks to be at the beginning of the bloom.

Then, Cassani said, comes the casualties in the fish and other sea life.