Rick Scott says state will fight red tide

Dead fish litter a beach in Fort Myers Florida. A lingering red tide off Florida's southwest coast has killed hundreds of fish turtles and other sea life in recent weeks

Dead fish litter a beach in Fort Myers Florida. A lingering red tide off Florida's southwest coast has killed hundreds of fish turtles and other sea life in recent weeks

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

Respiratory irritation and murky clumps of red drift algae have been reported from Collier to Sarasota counties on Florida's west coast, which is usually known for its stunning beaches.

"This whale shark was definitely exposed to the bloom, and we know brevetoxins (are deadly)", spokeswoman Kelly Richmond of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told the Washington Post.

Dozens of sea turtles are also turning up dead.

"FWC and DEP will enhance cleanup efforts, public awareness initiatives and water testing to ensure that Floridians understand the best ways to minimize the impact of red tide", a press release added.

Officials say almost 400 sea turtles have died because of the toxic bloom.

Political broadsides continue over who is to blame for ongoing water-quality problems across South Florida, as Gov. Rick Scott on Friday ordered more action to address red tide in coastal communities. However, there has yet to be a firm link established between nutrient pollution and the severity of red tide, according to Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.

To report an injured, sick or dead marine animal contact the FWC at 1-888-404-FWCC.

But the bloom is not only risky to marine animals. Polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee are blamed for the toxic algae problems.

"We are seeing more than double the number of animals being impacted at this time of the year, from the red tide", said Trindell.

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

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