Red tide cited after manatees, thousands of fish found dead in Florida

The red tide algae is deadly to fish and cause irritation in humans

The sparkling white sand of Florida's southwestern beaches aren't dotted with sunbathers this week. "We're even seeing large loggerhead sea turtles being effected, and that's because this red tide has lasted into the nesting season".

Red tide is a naturally-occurring toxic algae that often occurs along florida's gulf coast.

A Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Marine Deputy found a manatee paralyzed, due to red tide. Tissue taken from the whale shark's organs and muscles tested positive for brevetoxin, a neurotoxin created by the algae.

Officials say almost 400 sea turtles have died because of the toxic bloom.

- As dead fish and marine animals continue to pile up on the shores of Southwest Florida beaches, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are asking for help reporting dead and sick animal sightings.

Social media has been inundated with images of dead animals that failed to escape the toxic bloom washing up on the Gulf of Mexico beaches across Florida.

"It's hard to predict more than a few days out [when it will end]", Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Michelle Kerr told CNN. The FWC reports that this recent bloom has been monitored since November. Higher than normal concentrations are called blooms and the toxins in them can kill fish, crabs, and other marine life.

It's so bad that Lee County commissioners declared a local state of emergency and need funding to remove the massive amounts of dead fish.

Usually, cold spells break up or kill off some of the algae, but not this time.

There have already been at least 490 manatee deaths this year as well, with 80 of them likely caused by red tide.

The Miami Herald reported the blue-green algae outbreak had grabbed national attention.

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