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Red-Tide Bloom Continues To Plague Southwest Florida After Hurricane Ian

Knewz 12/2/2022 Knewz
© Knewz

By Richard

Among the many headaches on the Gulf Coast of Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian is persistent “red-tide bloom.”

The phenomenon of too much algae in the water discoloring the surface and killing wildlife has been heightened by runoff from septic tanks, farms, lawns and more. The sight of pelicans near Sarasota eating dead fish has been a common one in recent weeks.

However, while the damage caused by Hurricane Ian has increased the flow of nutrients into the water, experts say this year’s red-tide bloom took hold before the arrival of the storm. Red tide, known scientifically by the name Karenia brevis, is a naturally occurring annual phenomenon in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Some people experience respiratory irritation (coughing, sneezing, tearing and an itchy throat) when the red tide organism is present and winds blow onshore,” Carly Jones, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told the Fort Myers News-Press. “Offshore winds usually keep respiratory effects experienced by those on the shore to a minimum. The Florida Department of Health advises people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, to avoid red tide areas.”

Intriguingly, locals have noticed a difference on the red tide front after Hurricane Ian compared to 2017’s Hurricane Irma. In the latter case, a lot more game fish were showing up along the shore dead, compared to in the current situation of mostly foraging species.

On the flipside, the red tide caused by Irma lasted for two years, until the spring of 2019. Many scientists are predicting the same will be the case with the current red-tide bloom, forecasting that it will persist until spring of 2024.

The Commission has a wide range of online tools to help local residents manage the risks. These include a logging of daily seawater samples.

TMX contributed to this story

The post Red-Tide Bloom Continues To Plague Southwest Florida After Hurricane Ian appeared first on Knewz.

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