With more concentrations of red tide in Pinellas County, the algae spans 135 miles of Florida’s west coast. As cleanup efforts underway, many of our viewers have contacted us with everything from concerns of getting sick to sending pictures of massive fish kills in their backyard.
Jason Goldstein Turned to 10 for answers after he said it took the county days to clean up the dead fish rotting in the intracoastal behind his house.
“It really is a horrendous smell,” he said. “It goes throughout the entire neighborhood. Almost every canal in this neighborhood has this problem. I’ve been dealing with this for the better of 10 days. The fish started coming in and you can see the result all around the neighborhood here.”
Pinellas County has received $1.3 million to combat red tide.
Goldstein is one of many people living along the water wondering where all that money is going.
“I have no idea where the money is being spent to do any cleanup. My guess is they are spending a lot of it on beaches to save the tourism, but people who live here are living here.”
With public beaches being a top priority, the county says it’s nearly impossible for the boat captains contracted for cleanup to get to everyone’s dock. In the past two weeks alone, they’ve cleaned up more than 320 tons of dead fish.
Goldstein sent us pictures of his backyard before the county came to clean up. We got video of what it looked like after, and there were still plenty of dead fish.
“I don’t know what kind of effort that was. I guess it’s possible the boat was full, but they scooped up a little bit and just left. It was a 15-foot boat. On the way out, I watched them leave and they passed tons of fish on the way out,” Goldstein said.
The county says all of $1.3 million from the state is going toward cleanup. With hundreds of calls coming in every day, the county says their contractors can’t get to everyone.
It’s why they’ve created a new application on their website for people to report red tide complaints directly to the contractors. It allows contractors to respond in real time, so there’s less delay in getting the work done.
“I assume that would help, but If it’s just another little 15-foot boat to pick up a few net fulls and then leave, that’s not going to do anything. These fish are coming in by hundreds of thousands,” Goldstein said.
Pinellas County officials expect homeowners to clean up what they can. While many neighbors hope the dead fish wash away with the tide, if that doesn’t work, Goldstein and others hope the contractors come back to pick up the dead fish they missed.
Pinellas County is asking for more money from the state to help fight red tide. The contractors they’ve hired are bringing on more boat captains and looking for volunteers to help with cleanup efforts.
If you’d like to get paid or volunteer to clean up, click here.
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