Gov. Scott Declares Emergency, Sends Money to Fight Red Tide

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Beaches are shut down, businesses have temporarily closed, and Floridians wonder when it will all end.

"We are beginning to develop a strategy for presenting a comprehensive approach for targeted response to the current red tide and its impact and very targeted areas of research", Dr. Crosby said.

The K. brevis algae is so deadly because it produces a toxin that hits the central nervous system of animals that accidentally ingest it during a red tide event.

This summer's red tide has already caused the deaths of hundreds of sea turtles, as well as large fish like goliath grouper and even manatees.

Not exactly. Red tide occurs most every year in the Gulf of Mexico during late summer to early fall, according to FWC, but the severity differs.

This is their spawning period and there's been numerous reports of dead snook, from Charlotte to Manatee counties.

The blooms from the lake are different from the well-known red tide blooms, but some activists question if the mix of nutrients and algae flowing out of Lake Okeechobee are making the red tide worse.

Could this runoff be blamed for the prolonged Red Tide we are witnessing now?

Microscopic karenia bravis cells create a ghastly panorama when they burst into life, turning the seas blood red and spelling doom for marine creatures great and small throughout infected coastal waters, coves and inlets. If the microorganisms are concentrated at more than a 10,000-cell-per-liter rate, fish of all kinds can start dying.

A 26-foot long whale shark as well as 266 marine turtles have also died, washing ashore alongside tons of rotting fish. For people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, red tide can cause serious illness. Inhaling the red tide toxins can lead to coughing, sneezing and teary eyes, though those symptoms are typically temporary.

The algae bloom has also caused respiratory issues for people in affected counties.

FWC is operating the toll-free fish kill hotline.

How long is the red tide expected to last?

Researchers also continue to study whether pollution and human activity may be intensifying the effects of red tide. "Salt water is coming all the way up here during high tide, and during low tide it's way out over there".

"We lack a consistent set of observations offshore in what we believe to be the formative region for these blooms", said Robert Weisberg, professor of physical oceanography at University of South Florida College.

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