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Goliath grouper among Tampa Bay sea life casualties

High concentrations of red tide have likely killed off tons of sea animals in recent weeks.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Even some of the bigger fish in Tampa Bay may not be immune to the effects of red tide.

Wendy Wesley captured a picture Wednesday of what appears to be a large goliath grouper that washed up on the beach at the Tampa Bay-facing Lassing Park in southeast St. Petersburg. 

Although its exact cause of death isn't known, the grouper is added to an ever-growing list of dead marine life seen in recent weeks. The uptick of debris removed — at least 676 tons collected in Pinellas County alone — has corresponded to high concentrations of the organism that causes red tide, Karenia brevis.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's latest report shows the problem isn't getting any better, especially in Tampa Bay.

RELATED: Red tide likely to stick around Bay Area

Credit: Wendy Wesley

RELATED: 676 tons of dead sea life collected in Pinellas County as red tide continues to sweep through Tampa Bay

Fishing for goliath grouper is banned in state and federal waters off Florida since 1990, according to the FWC. If caught, they "must be immediately returned to the water free, alive and unharmed."

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