Red tide blamed for new reports of dead fish and respiratory issues in Pinellas County

Posted at 6:10 PM, Oct 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-12 06:23:48-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Officials tell ABC Action News red tide never went away — crews are cleaning up dead fish that have washed up onto Pinellas County beaches.

“We were doing really well, but we always knew that bloom was offshore,” Kelli Levy said.

Levy is the Division Director of Environmental Management for Pinellas County. She said while conditions at area beach communities improved before the hurricane, as Hurricane Michael moved toward the Panhandle it stirred things back up.

“The satellite imagery showed us that that bloom was hanging around there and so we knew if the wind shifted the potential for it to come back on our shore was very strong,” Levy said.

She wants people to know red tide never went away. 

“It’s just [the] winds helped us out. The currents helped us out, keeping it offshore and now they’ve changed and here we are again,” Levy said. 

Levy said locals and visitors should expect to see problems in several beach communities in Pinellas County the next couple of days. Levy said people will probably see dead fish and experience respiratory issues.

Denise Carr and her family felt the effects of red tide immediately. 

“I didn’t think it would look this bad today, but it’s pretty bad,” Carr said.

County officials want you to know they release a report on beach conditions twice a day, seven days a week. It informs people of the beaches where people have complained about the odor, irritation, dead fish, and the color of the water. For that report, click here. 

“Unfortunately, it looks like it might be with us for a little while longer,” Levy said.