Red tide killed millions of fishes near Sanibel Island

[USA] Red tide killed millions of fish near Sanibel Island, a safe haven for species which migrate during winter times. However, when the phenomenon of the red tide happens, the shores of the island turn into a graveyard. This year, scientists have found out that fewer fish have died, which is a good sign.

A water quality scientist from the Conservation Foundation Sanibel Captiva, Rick Bartleson, declared that it is most likely that the fish did not wash from a distance upon the shores of the island. The fact that some of them were missing their eyes and that they showed elevated cell counts demonstrates the fact that they were hit by the red tide very close to Sanibel. The Sanibel island is located in Florida.

But what is the red tide? The phenomenon is actually a type of red algae which turns the water uninhabitable by marine life. However, it is not related at all to the tide, and the algae are not always red.

The red tide is caused by another phenomenon called Karenia brevis, a type of algae in Florida. It does not affect only the marine life, but also human beings and mammals, irritating their respiratory system, which can prove very serious for people suffering from allergies.

Rick Bartleson stated that for the red tide to start killing fish it takes about 10,000 cells of algae. Putting that into perspective, the algae near Sanibel measured about 500,000 cells or even 760,000.

After it devastated Sarasota County, the tide moved on to Lee County .

One of less devastating but still ugly consequences is that the people who live on the island have now to endure the smell of rotting fish.

This is the most relevant occurrence of the phenomenon in some time.

The Conservation Commission for Fish and Wildlife in Florida reported that the red tide tends to happen in November in Florida. However, no one can say for how long it will last.

The fact that the red tide killed millions of fish near Sanibel Island comes as no surprise to scientists, but the tourists on the island are very affected. Several of them expressed their displeasure with the graveyard of fish on the beach. This is understandable when people are trying to escape the cold of the approaching winter and are met only by the smell of rotting fish.


Photo: This time fewer fish died near the coast of Sanibel island after the red tide.

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