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Pinellas County ramps up fish kill clean-up

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 18:20:28-04

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — Thousands and thousands of dead fish continue to show up in St. Pete and Intracoastal Waterways around Pinellas County. Now a contractor is working to help clean up the mess.


Jay Gunter is the regional manager for DRC Emergency Services which helped to clean up the massive red tide event of 2018. DRC is contracted to join forces with the county and city to clean up the fish kill.

Gunter says DRC has shrimp boats working to scoop up the dead fish in the bay before they wash to shore, and small boats cleaning the canals which he says is a very tedious job.

"In the Intracoastal, yes, it is worse than 2018," said Gunter.

Small boats are working to scoop the dead fish into a bigger boat. Once the bigger boat fills up it unloads the dead fish into a large dumpster that will be taken to the county landfill.

Just South of downtown St.Pete near Coquina Key, Action Air One spotted a large manta ray floating lifelessly in the water.

"It's heartbreaking," said Gunter.

Gunter says the good news is there are not yet reports of major fish kills on Pinellas County beaches like in 2018.

But he says the not-so-good news is that right now there doesn’t seem to be an end to red tide in sight.

"We don’t know what to expect every day, but whatever it is we’re going to handle it," said Gunter.

On Tuesday Pinellas County and city leaders will meet with Governor Ron DeSantis at a round table discussion concerning red tide response.