PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Madeira Beach has been plagued with high levels of red tide since the toxic algae made its first substantial fish kill in Pinellas County exactly one week ago, according to Pinellas environmental management records.
- Report: Red tide found along 125 miles of Florida's west coast
- Red tide continues to plague Pinellas coast
- Dead fish found on Pinellas County beaches
As of Thursday, contractors had collected 102 tons of dead fish from the entire Pinellas Coast, both offshore with boats and on the beaches.
The stinky mess is expected to continue this weekend as an on-shore wind is going to blow the massive bloom east towards the beaches. On Friday, thousands of dead fish could be seen piling up on the shore at Archibald Beach Park in Madeira Beach.
“I think this is probably the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Beverly Miller.
Miller is a Hurricane Florence evacuee. The mother from Charleston, South Carolina, drove her camper to the Bay area with her kids to avoid the storm.
“I wanted to bring them here because it’s a little bit different, almost like being at the Caribbean,” she said. “Come here and it looks like, it’s red and nasty and smelly and the kids can’t enjoy that.”
Alvin Holcomb is also traveling with Miller and said this is the first time he has seen red tide.
“It’s really awful,” he said. “I never want to see this again.”
Mid-county beaches most affected
So far, the mid-county beaches have been the most affected by high concentrations of red tide. A long line of dead fish could be seen on the shore at Redington Beach.
Pinellas environmental management director Kelli Levy said Friday a significant fish kill was rolling in from Redington Beach south to St. Pete Beach.
“The contractor is hiring more boat captains. Including, shrimp harvesting boats,” she said. “Operation in full swing.”
Pinellas County does have an aggressive cleanup operation. Crews could be seen raking up dead fish in Madeira Beach as quickly as possible on Friday.
In a media release, Madeira Beach said all available manpower and resources are being deployed on the City’s beaches and in the water in an attempt to mitigate the situation as much as possible.
The bloom is currently more than 1 million acres in size and extending 22 miles offshore.