Red Tide in Florida is a phenomenon of algal blooms or algae overgrowth in the water. It is caused by specific types of marine and estuarine algae, which can cause massive fish die-offs and harmful effects on marine life. This phenomenon has been recorded for hundreds of years, but has become more concerning in recent times as nutrient pollution from human waste products increases the occurrence and severity of blooms.
In Florida, red tide typically appears between August and October each year. It is most common along coastlines near shorelines that have excess amounts of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus or silica from fertilizer runoff, sewage treatments or other sources that get into the water supply. Algae feed off these nutrients and form what is known as an algal bloom. The increase in nutrients also gives way to higher levels of salinity which can affect the ecosystems health too.
One major consequence of red tide is its toxic effects on sea life causing large scale fish kills throughout Florida’s coastline from Pensacola to Indian River Lagoon area stretching all the way south to Key West. In some cases even bottlenose dolphins have suffered due to exposure with red tide’s toxins paralyzing them and preventing them from swimming back up to the surface before drowning. The consequences don’t end there however with reports linking red tide to respiratory problems around Floridian coastlines due to airborne toxins released by decaying algae which can result in serious irritation symptoms like sore throat, coughing fits and difficulty breathing for those living nearby causing widespread concern about human health affected by Red Tide bacteria’s presence in air quality around permanently populated areas exposed to this kind of contamination through high concentrations near certain beaches.
Doing Our Part
While Suncoast Beach Grooming cannot prevent these algal blooms from occurring, we are proud to be able to do our part in preserving our beaches in south Florida by keeping our beaches as clean as possible.