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Local business owners noticing slower traffic as red tide plagues St. Petersburg

Sellers at the Marketplace on the St. Petersburg Pier said Friday seemed to be exceptionally slow.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The city of St. Petersburg has been dealing with red tide cleanup since June.

This past week, the situation turned dire. Tuesday, Mayor Rick Kriseman pleaded for more resources from the state including money and shrimp boats to help with fish collection. He says city staff can't keep up this pace.

RELATED: St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman calls on Gov. DeSantis for red tide resources

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to send Pinellas County $902,500 to assist with cleanup efforts. Some of that money will go to the city of St. Pete.

From canals in people's backyards to city parks built on the bay, people are noticing the stench and scene and some are choosing to stay away.

Giana Eden is the Resident Artist at Craftsman House Gallery in St. Petersburg. She spends her weekends running the kiosk at the St. Petersburg Pier located just past the Pier’s Gateway consisting of independent vendors selling items under individual tents.

"Fridays are usually are slow day but this is even slower than usual so I suspect less tourists are coming because of the red tide," said Eden.

This is Eden's first summer in St. Petersburg.

"I went out to the little pier by my house to see the sunrise like I usually do and I just had to turn around," she said.

Some pier visitors Friday morning didn't think the stench was as bad as earlier in the week and around other parts of the city.

Experts say that's to be expected.

Dr. Lisa Krimsky, a Regional Water Resources Agent with the UF IFAS Extension doesn't want everyone to run from the water.

"Concentration of red tide and the organism that causes these algae blooms and fish kills are really patchy so there are areas seeing really high concentrations and then areas not being impacted and it’s very dependent on the winds and currents so it can change from hour to hour day to day." said Krimsky.

Although experts don't know how long the red tide will stick around Tampa Bay, movement is expected. City crews have also been working around the clock to get things cleaned up.

RELATED: Tampa Bay 'red hot' with red tide outbreak

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