Red Tide

As a result of the red tide, thousands of fish are showing up dead up and down the coast of Florida.

As a result of the red tide, thousands of fish are showing up dead up and down the coast of Florida.

Maya Konieczynski, Writer

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Florida is currently in a state of emergency after the red tide algae bloom started killing off thousands of fish up and down the coast. This algae bloom is caused by runoff, saltwater, and freshwater all mixing together. The outbreak started in February of 2018 and is still happening presently. When a red tide is broken open by waves and currents it releases a neurotoxin called brevetoxins that affect the central nervous system. Red tides also deplete the oxygen in the water so marine life suffocates and then dies. This affects not only small fish but, manatees, dolphins, and sharks as well (NOAA).

Judy Woodruff, an American broadcast journalist on PBS, said: “Red tide has exploded in Florida this year, growing bigger and lasting longer than years before” (PBS).

The economy up and down the coast is being majorly affected by this particular break out due to how long its lasted. Restaurants have seen their business drop by 45% since the red tide was first seen. Boat tours have seen an even larger drop in business since the start of red tide. Their business has dropped by 80% because they can’t go half a mile without encountering hundreds of dead fish floating on the surface of the water (PBS). Another way that red tide hurts the local community is by keeping tourist away. Red tide makes chronic respiratory disease to become more extreme and can irritate the skin and eyes (The Weather Channel).

Locals are currently outraged by how Florida’s governor Rick Scott is handling the problem. Rick Scott has cut the water management department’s budget $700 million, repealed mandatory septic tank inspections, and reduced staffing at Florida’s state department of environmental protection. Scott’s actions have caused locals to protest against him being reelected. Early in Rick Scott’s campaign, he had a hard time going out in public without protesters (The Hill).

Scientists are currently trying to find a way to control the occurrence of red tide (NOAA). Red tides are influenced by many of the outcomes of climate change. These factors include low ocean salinity, ships, storms, currents, winds, high nutrient content, and rain followed by sunny days (SERC).

Unfortunately, a way of eliminating red tied without causing more damage to the ecosystem hasn’t been found. Although, citizens can help by volunteering to help the FWC. 

 

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