Sarasota, Florida -- Before you see it, even feel it you can smell it.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how bad is the smell? “An 8 . it's uncomfortable you can’t get away from it,” says Chris Bourne an Ohio visitor.
The smell from dead fish washing up along Lido Key and in Sarasota Bay. The fish are big and small, from grouper and sea trout to thousands of pinfish and even snook have fallen victim to the algae bloom.
Bourne is vacationing with his family from Columbus, Ohio. He says, “We see fish after fish constantly on its side, big or small doesn’t matter.”
The red tide bloom is killing business ,too. New Pass Grill has seen a 40% drop in customers. “I’m losing money right now I want it to go away so all the people start coming back. Nobody wants to go to the beach when there’s fish all over,” says Kyle Huybers of New Pass Grill.
“It can also harm birds and other marine mammals,” says Katelyn Fusco, More Marine Laboratory.
The bloom is right on schedule according to Mote Marine Laboratory.
Fusco says, “Typically in the fall into the winter we will see red tide blooms.”
Whether or not you feel the red tide, Red Tide..that’s the scratchiness in the throat, the coughing and sneezing…depends on the direction of the wind.”
"If the wind stays offshore, respiratory problems stay away too but swimming can still be a problem. “If you do swim in it can cause skin irritation and eyes to water,” says Fusco.
High patch levels are mostly seen off Sarasota and Manatee counties but dead fish are washing up on Treasure Island, too. The cause is unknown and scientists can’t predict it either that’s why weekly samples are done.
“Right now we are focusing on monitoring efforts every time we have a red tide bloom like this it gives us more information,” says Fusco.
Bourne says while the timing of the red tide bloom is disappointing, Sarasota remains a favorite vacation spot. He says, “Knowing red tide is temporary thing we know we’ll be back. We love the area.”