Red tide blamed for Longboat Key fish kill

Thousands of pounds of dead fish is clogging Longboat Key canals. Mote Marine Laboratory is tracking red tide with its Genie glider.

Longboat Key, Florida -- Longboat Key residents and visitors are waking up to this.

"The smell is overpowering," says Robyn Carlstein, homeowner.

Canals filled with dead fish killed by red tide in Sarasota Bay and washed in by the same easterly wind that keeps it off shore along the beaches.

 

Carlstein says, "This time of year with this kind of weather you want the doors open for fresh air going in to the house but you can't do that. You don't want to open the door."

Longboat Key had a crew remove about 6,000 pounds of fish. "As fast as they were cleaned out the fish were coming in," says Carlstein.

The red tide is keeping out customers at New Pass Grill along the bay.

"Right now should be slammed with tourists not had the increase we usually do may have a lot to do with red tide," says Ben Conover, the cook at New Pass Grill. "It is definitely out there."

Mote Marine's Senior Scientist Dr. Kellie Dixon knows this thanks to Genie the glider launched two weeks ago on a 15-day mission into the Gulf. It's a trip cut short after a few days when a Remora fish latched on for a ride 40 miles out.

"They think Genie is a shark," says Dixon.

Still Genie phoned back enough information about Karenia Brevis, the red tide algae.

"There's more out there. Depending on waves current patterns be brought in to shore. It's going to depend on the weather if visitors notice it."

Dixon says as long as there's this easterly wind and there's red tide in Sarasota Bay Longboat Key residents will continue waking up to seeing and smelling the dead fish in their canals.


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