National Weather Service issues red tide warning for SWFL beaches; Collier included

Red tide algae bloom killing marine life off Florida coast

The sparkling white sand of Florida's southwestern beaches aren't dotted with sunbathers this week.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is now examining samples of the algae from different locations along the west coast.

The city is issuing a daily "fish kill clean-up" report because of the "unprecedented volume of dead sea life now washing up".

The cause of these bad scenes: A toxic algal bloom known as red tide.

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At least 400 sea turtles have died, Newsweek is reporting. Bill Nelson, a Democrat who is being challenged by Scott in the November election, said Thursday that he has asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the potential health impacts of exposure to algae that has spread in waterways along both coasts. A map released by FWC officials on Wednesday shows a red tide hot zone stretching from Manasota Beach in the south up to Sarasota in the north.

As part of the directive, the conservation commission will assist local efforts to save animals affected by red tide. It comes from the ocean and can cause breathing problems, teary eyes, scratchy throats and make it unbearable to be at the beach.

But the bloom is not only risky to marine animals. Red tide is a type of marine algae that undergoes an explosive growth and begins producing toxins. The red tide is going strong - and has been joined by toxic blue-green algae invading Lake Okeechobee, and several of the state's rivers and canals, Newsweek said.

The excess amount of algae absorbs much of the oxygen in the water, killing off marine life beneath the surface.

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