Red tide devastation in Florida
10/01/2018

A break down of what is going on with the harmful red tide events in Florida.

 

Join us in our mission to keep our Oceans clean!

 

We are truly heartbroken with the negative impacts of red tides in Florida. I have been living in Florida for almost 16 years now and as a marine biologist I have never seen red tide events in our shores as severe as the ones we are seeing this year. The impact is devastating, marine life is dying by the hundreds, including fish, manatees, dolphin, fish and whale sharks. 


The red tide is impacting a large area spreading over several Florida counties and reaching up to 40 miles offshore, covering more than 100 miles of coastline. 
 

Fish washed ashore after dying in a red tide event on August 1, 2018 in Sanibel, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedie/Getty Images.

 

What is red tide?

 

During the summer, Florida’s normally blue and turquoise clear water has been turning brown due to algae blooms. Red tide can be a natural occurring event along coastlines due to upwelling of nutrients during massive storms. But in Florida the story has a bit more to it.

  

The algae blooms are also caused by polluted freshwater water flowing out to the ocean through our canals, rivers and inlets making the red tide events catastrophic. Pollution comes from inland, such as septic tanks and fertilizer runoff from both lawns and agriculture. This polluted water triggers algae blooms at abnormal levels killing wildlife and affecting human health. 

 

What are the negative impacts of red tide?

 

The microorganisms that cause the red tide produce toxins that can harm or even kill marine life that eats them. Algae blooms can also make the waters become hypoxic, oxygen poor, or anoxic, completely depleted of oxygen causing massive fish kills. The toxins released also get blown into the air affecting the human respiratory system and often sending people to the hospital. 

 

The problem is affecting many of Florida’s coastal communities.

 

Many Florida businesses rely on clean air and water for visitors that come from all over the world. Health concerns keep people away. Locals who love the ocean and the beach are also suffering. We are unable to enjoy our favorite water activities or even just go for a walk on the beach. Our way of life is being severely disrupted. We can no longer ignore the issue and we need to step up and do something about it.

 

Take action!

 

It’s very important to vote wisely and get involved. There are groups and organizations taking the initiative to put pressure on our government officials to start implementing solutions to the problem. Ask our government and our elected officials to take action. CLICK HERE to send them a message. 

 

We want change and a commitment from the government in the state of Florida to do something. We want clean water for us to enjoy, and to be able to protect and preserve it for future generations. We want our children to have the opportunity to fall in love with the ocean just like we did.  

 

Join us in our mission for a clean ocean!

 

Author: Melissa Gil, MG Surfline co-founder, Marine Biologist and ocean advocate.

Cover photo credit:  P. Schmidt, Charlotte Sun