Article By: ABC7
Red tide is all over Southwest Florida. 19 different Lee County beaches are experiencing some level of it. Pristine water is what typically draws thousands to Southwest Florida every year, but right now it’s rotting fish – not happy visitors – lining our beaches.
“The beach looks awful. It’s sad. There [are] dead fish everywhere, the smell is awful, [and] you can smell it as soon as you get close to the water. It chokes you up,” said Amber Powers.
Red tide is known to cause respiratory issues, and there were plenty of people having breathing problems Monday at Lovers Key State Park.
“We’ve been coughing and sneezing. You can tell there is something that shouldn’t be in the air,” said Amy Broughton.
On Monday at a near-empty Fort Myers Beach, the story was much the same.
“I guess [there are] no beach days in the future for us,” said Powers. “We were going to go to Vanderbilt beach in Naples, and we heard [that] those beaches look just as bad as these.”
Crews have been out working to clean up the beach in hopes for a return from visitors, while the dead fish couldn’t keep the Wilson family away on Monday.
“Despite all the fish and all that stuff were still here,” said Wilson. “Why not? Vacation.”
Sanibel leaders called the volume of dead sea life unprecedented. The issues are so severe that they’re asking for private property owners to help clean it up.
“[We] can’t catch a break on going to the beach,” said Powers “It’s just sad. Hopefully, they get it all taken care of soon.”