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6,000 pounds of dead fish removed from Indian Rocks Beach

In the last week and a half, the city of Indian Rocks Beach has sent clean-up crews to the beaches every morning for red tide debris removal.

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla. — In the last week and a half, the city of Indian Rocks Beach began sending public works crews to the beach with a tractor pulling a giant rake behind it. 

In that time, roughly three tons of dead fish and marine life have been removed, according to the city public works director.

And unfortunately, the rise in dead fish washing ashore due to red tide comes at the same time as spring breakers.

"It's a lot of dead fish, a lot of dead marine animals on the shore," Itamar Colon said. She's visiting from Orlando and hadn't heard about red tide prior to her visit to Indian Rocks Beach. 

Red tide is a toxic alga bloom that kills marine life. It can also leave beachgoers sneezing, coughing or suffering from a scratchy throat. Symptoms may be harsher if you have asthma. 

It's easy enough to check conditions before heading to the beach. 

If you forget to do a quick web search before heading to the beach, there are signs posted at every public beach access point with red tide conditions. 

For many visiting, the signs and warnings go ignored, especially for those in town enjoying a vacation. 

"I kind of just blew it off like 'Ah, we'll see what happens,'" Brendan Moore said. 

"The first day we were here, you could tell it like hit your lungs and throat and nose almost immediately, but it's gotten better since then," Emily Austin said. 

Moore and Austin said they weren't planning to let a few dead fish keep them off the beach for their visit. 

In Indian Rocks Beach, public works crews will continue to monitor and remove red tide debris from the beaches.

"If it gets to a point where it's overwhelming and the city can't complete the cleanup efforts... we have the ability to reach out to Pinellas County, they're our partners and they will help us," Dean Scharmen, the public works director, said.

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