MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. — Hundreds of thousands of dead fish are washing up on Pinellas County beaches as red tide concentrations rise in the area's waters.


Now many beachside businesses are seeing lots of tourists stay away.

“All day long the last few days, it’s just been complete and utter chaos in our office, answering phone calls, people wanting to cancel their trips,” said fishing captain Dylan Hubbard.

Based out of John’s Pass at Madeira Beach, Hubbard told us he has seen fewer people the last few days on the boardwalk and the beach. The number of customers eager to fish from one of his charters is down more than usual, as well.

“We’ve had to make cuts. Unfortunately we had to send a lot of people home. We’ve had to cancel trips here and there because of this panic,” Hubbard said. 

Pinellas County does have crews out trying to clean up the fish, but there are still thousands of them washing up and those images may be keeping some folks away. 

On top of that, red tide can create respiratory issues that makes sitting near the water unpleasant. 

“Yeah, we always have concerns. Visually it doesn’t look good when you see them floating up on the beach,” said restaurant owner George Lewis. 

Hubbard hopes Pinellas has already seen the worst. He is telling folks to come out to the beach areas, anyway.

“If you’re not looking to lay on the beach all day, it’s a great time to enjoy the area. There’s no crowds, the weather’s great and the fishing’s great,” Hubbard said.