- October 17, 2018
Because the effects of red tide are again appearing on Longboat Key's gulf beaches, the town’s Public Works Department will begin a beach clean-up before the Thanksgiving weekend.
“Some of the fish that had washed up earlier in the week have already washed back out and are no longer on the beach,” said Public Works Director Isaac Brownman, adding the beaches are nearly clear.
Brownman said Public Works received a few complaints last week about dead sea life on the beaches.
“Our deployment is just a precaution to clear up any remaining sea life and gather any additional that may be deposited before the holiday weekend,” he said.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, low-to-medium amounts of Karenia brevis – red tide – can still be found along the beaches in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Red tide is also present in Pinellas County, the FWC said.
Red tide first showed up on town beaches in July and August. To date, the town has collected 183,320 pounds of red tide debris and spent more than $50,000 on clean-up efforts.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium scientists said red tide is a naturally occurring phenomenon that can be exacerbated by factors that include nutrients from human pollution. This bloom originated offshore about a year ago, officials have said.
“We will continue on a case by case basis,” said Brownman of cleanup efforts. “This most recent wash up was very minimal in comparison to August and September.”
Also, a recent survey of Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce members found a cumulative total of $3.16 million was lost by local businesses between Aug. 1 to Oct. 2 because of red tide. Most of the lost revenue reported came from cancelled reservations, the chamber said.