The beach at Boca Grande is a war zone since hundreds of dead fish, manatees, sea turtles, eels and other marine life washed ashore thanks to the red tide (which is a natural phenomenon that is often exacerbated by algae blooms). And if you can stand the smell, a trip to the beach will see the rotting fish rife with maggots and devoid of tourists. But it’s not just at Boca Grande, it’s all over Florida.
Charter boat captain Chris Oneill, who counted more than 40 endangered Goliath Groupers washed up on the beach, ranging from 10 pounds to 400 pounds, said,
“I haven’t been able to fish for a week, since mid-last week, because fish started dying and we’re not going to take people out here and subject them to these conditions because there are potential health concerns as well.
Black grouper, gag grouper, red grouper, trout, eel, puffer fish, everything you could imagine is right here in this weed line that’s washed up the last couple days.”1
One vacationer said,
“We’ve been hanging out at the pool because… look, there’s no one hanging out at the beach. It’s terrible. We have another family vacation planned without kids in August and we’re not sure we’re going to come. If there’s red ride, we’re definitely not coming.”2
While Captain Oneill isn’t sure what’s causing the red tide, he notes that whenever Lake Okeechobee releases water releases, Southwest Florida’s coasts regularly have fish kills,
“I can’t put my finger on what exactly the problem is, but I can certainly tell you any time they dump that lake, and the discharge comes out of the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, within a week we start seeing significant kills along our shorelines here in Southwest Florida. It’s sad to see that so much death is happening. I’ve only been here 15 years, and year after year I see things like this. This is the worst I’ve seen, and I’ve yet to see anyone out here assessing the problem or trying to figure it out.”
We need the politicians in our state to understand how important these issues are to the citizens and business owners of Florida. Not to mention our very endangered environment. Call, write or visit your government representatives and demand that these algae blooms be taken care of, for us and for our children.