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Blue-green algae carpeting beaches along Sarasota Bay

Experts say to avoid blue-green algae areas and to avoid eating fish from those waters to be safe.

BAYSHORE GARDENS, Fla — Austin Dunn has worked at Bay Shore Gardens for more than six years and is tasked with cleaning up the beach, Big Fish, there.

"I haven’t seen this, what they are calling blue-algae before," said Dunn.

The beaches have been caked up for a couple of weeks. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says blue-green algae is a natural part of the freshwater, brackish, and marine environments here in Florida. But it's new to this beach.

“Nothing like last year’s fish kill with the red tide, but this is something that we haven’t seen in the time that I’ve been down here," said Dunn. 

The Florida Department of Health says you shouldn’t swim in the blue-green algae water, eat fish that has been living in it, or really spend too much time around it. Which has been keeping some of the regulars away.

"Kids will come down here and fish, but they haven’t been coming down recently because they have to deal with this," explained Dunn.

A family who came to fish thought they were in for a gorgeous afternoon on the water, but after a couple of minutes of exploration, they changed their minds.

“We’re going to go somewhere else, it’s pretty bad here. It stinks," one said. “It’s getting worse. I don’t know what the hell is going on.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says that persistent blooms are routinely monitored and retested. You can track blue-green algae blooms on their website to see if your neighborhood has been affected. 

The Report Algal Blooms hotline and online submission form are for freshwater blue-green algae reports only. To report red tide blooms, visit theFWC Red Tide Status website. Current Weekly Update There were 19 reported site visits in the past week (5/9-5/16) with 18 sites resulting in samples collected.

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