Red tide information – and contacts for dead fish removal
St. Petersburg, Fla. (September 17, 2018) – As evidence of red tide continues to cause concern in our region, we are providing reminders of caution – as well as contact information should you see evidence of a fish kill near your property. The City of St. Petersburg is partnering with Pinellas County Environmental Management to ensure a coordinated clean-up in order to ensure public health and safety.
Red tide is a type of harmful algae bloom (HAB) caused by an increase or “bloom” in the concentration of certain microscopic algae in the water column. Red tide events have been noted in Florida since the 1500’s and most certainly occurred prior to European settlement. The most common red tide organism in Florida is the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. In high enough concentrations the algae turns the water column a distinct red color. While K. brevis is a naturally occurring organism, nutrient enrichment of our coastal waters can make blooms worse and longer lived.
K. brevis does produce toxins that can be mixed with airborne sea spray. People may experience varying degrees of eye, nose, and throat irritation. When a person leaves an area with a red tide, symptoms usually go away. People with severe or chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease are cautioned to avoid areas with active red tides.
As the red tide affects fish, there may be significant fish-kills. Contractors with the county are working on continuing their clean-up, but they will be focusing their efforts on areas where there is more of a concentration of dead fish.
It will not be possible to send the contractor for small amounts of fish. If it is a small amount and it can be removed, place the material in a trash bag, seal it, and dispose of through normal trash pickup. Even a full trash can is fine. If odor is a concern, double bag it.
Response to a significant issue can be scheduled through the following important process:
For estimating purposes, members of the public who are concerned should look at a 10x10 area, (100 square feet) and count the fish. If it is significant (e.g.: 100’s or 1,000’s of dead fish) send the report to Environmental Management and they will schedule the contractor.
Information to provide:
• Location with complete address
• Approximately how many fish
• Pictures (if available)