CLEARWATER, Fla. — Pinellas County officials said Tuesday that public works crews and contractors have removed more than 1.2 million pounds of marine life since red tide started to impact the county's beaches in June.
Local governments in Pinellas have now removed around 613 tons of dead fish and marine life from area waterways as very high levels of Red Tide persist within Tampa Bay.
Pinellas County contractors and the City of St. Petersburg collected around 124 tons of fish on Sunday and Monday alone from Tampa Bay, Boca Ciega Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Red Tide in some parts of Tampa Bay in the past few days tested at ten to 17 times the concentration considered “high,” which can cause significant respiratory issues in people as well as fish kills.
Concentrations along Pinellas beaches on Monday ranged from low to high, but impacts vary from day to day. Beaches remain open and areas with lower levels of Red Tide are safe to visit, however, higher concentrations can cause health effects, especially for people with underlying respiratory issues.
“Red Tide is having an impact on our bay and beaches right now, but Pinellas County is working around the clock to lessen its effects on residents and visitors by removing dead fish and sharing the latest information on where the bloom is concentrated,” Pinellas Public Works Director Kelli Hammer Levy said in a statement. “Our beaches remain open and it’s important to check the latest information on which areas are being affected as conditions change from one day to the next.”
A large-scale operation to remove fish before they enter estuaries and canals continues this week.
The City of St. Pete is asking people to report any sick or dead dolphins, manatees, sea turtles or other non-fish wildlife by calling the FWC Hotline 888-404-3922.