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Red tide has already killed more manatees this year than in all of 2017, FWC data shows

Red tide is suspected to have caused the death of a young manatee near Venice, Florida.

With heavy hearts, Venice police pulled another dead animal from Florida's Gulf coast Saturday.

The young manatee was the latest fatality in a string of recent deaths the waters near counties like Sarasota -- located along the southwest coast of the Sunshine State.

Police said the juvenile sea cow would be taken to a lab, where it would be tested by FWC biologists. But, the Venice Police Marine Unit suspects the death was linked to red tide -- which continues to cause problems along Florida's coastline.

Related: Red tide: What is it and why does the beach stink right now?

In 2017, the FWC blamed 67 manatee deaths on red tide. So far this year, 80 manatee deaths are already being linked to red tide in Florida.

"Unfortunately, that number for 2018 is greater to date, but not available at this time," Venice Master Police Officer Paul Joyce said.

Joyce asked boaters to be more cautious in the water while red tide poses problems.

"Manatees are more likely to be closer to the surface of the water while they try to breathe," he said. "Plus with our waters very dark and brackish, it makes it that much more difficult to see a manatee."

If you see any animal in distress, please call your local marine authority on VHF radio channel 16. You can also contact the FWC at 888-404-3922 or Mote Marine Laboratory at 941-988-0212.

Click here for complete red tide coverage from 10News.

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