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Red tide in Bay area: 1,208 tons of marine debris collected in Pinellas County

Red tide continues to kill marine life in the Tampa Bay area.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Red tide continues to impact waterways across the Tampa Bay area and Pinellas County leaders are sharing the effect it's having on marine life.

As of Monday morning, 1,208 tons of marine debris had been collected in Pinellas County. That's 2.4 million pounds. 

Daily samples from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show that red tide is sweeping into Tampa Bay. The most recent samples show high levels of the harmful algae Karenia brevis near Indian Shores Beach, Vinoy Park, and Snake Key among others. People who live along the water in Coquina Key said they have never seen this many fish die because of red tide.

To report a fish kill to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), call the hotline at 800-636-0511. For more resources, click here

RELATED: Red tide at the beach: See the latest conditions

Red tide is one of the water's deadliest enemies, and it occurs nearly every summer along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Some years, however, it's worse than others.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "red tide" is a harmful algal bloom or HAB, that is created when plants in the sea grow out of control and cause harmful toxins. Those toxins can have negative impacts on people, marine mammals, birds, fish and shellfish. 

In Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the species responsible for most red tides is called Karenia brevis, and is often abbreviated as K. brevis.

NOAA scientists say that although it's rare, red tide can cause human illness and in some rare cases be deadly.

Experts at Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say the toxic chemicals that come from red tide affect both marine organisms and humans.

Karenia brevis produces brevetoxins that can affect the central nervous system of fish and other vertebrates, which causes these animals to die.

You can find tools to check for red tide in your area here.

RELATED: Here are the signs red tide symptoms are affecting you

RELATED: UF researcher studies ways to reduce red tide

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