Sanibel city officials monitoring red tide along shores

SANIBEL, Fla.- Moderate levels of red tide are impacting a small portion of Sanibel Island.

Biologists say most of the issues with red tide are happening from Gulfside Beach to the Lighthouse Beach.

“It’s just a faint smell of sea to me,” said visitor Ray Daino.

The smell of dead fish, although mild, is in the air at some Sanibel beaches.

“We have been around seafood, or seafood restaurants, working in the kitchen as a kid, kind of the same smell,” said Daino.

“Based on the wash ups of fish we are seeing, it’s not that bad. We are seeing small numbers of fish, enough to be noticeable, but staying in the low to moderate wash up events,” said Holly Milbrandt, an environmental biologist with the City of Sanibel.

On Friday, public works crews were picking up dead fish at Gulfside City Park.

“We actually monitor all our beaches on a daily basis, but what we’ve seen over the last couple of days are some small wash ups of some dead fish, particularly on some of the east end beaches,” Milbrandt said.

Red tide can irritate your throat and give you a cough and watery eyes, but people on the beach say they feel fine.

“I walk the beach all the time and I am real susceptible to respiratory things and today has been perfect. I haven’t coughed once,” said Sanibel resident Danny Morgan.

Property owners are allowed to remove dead fish, but they must adhere to the following guidelines from the City of Sanibel:

  • Only dead fish may be removed from the beach to ensure that beach habitat for Sanibel’s wildlife is protected during the cleanup process.
  • Dead fish may only be removed by hand, using hand tools such as pitch forks or grabbers. The use of shovels and mechanical equipment is strictly prohibited.
  • All fish should be double bagged and placed in an onsite dumpster for disposal.
  • No motorized vehicles are permitted on the beach.