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Photo via Thomas Tipton

Businesses, tourists react to SWFL algae

Businesses who’ve suffered because of algae can fill out a survey.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said they’ll evaluate the information to develop a study to help.

The algae is making its way to Sanibel Island, and businesses are feeling the impact.

“They ask all the time is there a better place to go, should we go farther out, should we go somewhere else,” said waitress Molly Sprosty. “I don’t think we’re as busy as we were last year.”

Servers at The Island Cow on the island said they’ve taken a hit.

“A lot of questions from vacationers,” said waitress Jennifer McCann.

Tourist Tim Troutman expressed his concerns with the algae.

“We were concerned if it may be harmful, if there’s something in the water that’s not healthy, so we asked people if we should even go in the water,” Tim said.

James Evans, Sanibel’s Director of Natural Resources, said algae dissipates as it enters salt water, but it’s still harmful.

“We don’t want that algae breaking down and releasing those nutrients into the coastal waters that may be available to other harmful algal blooms such as red tide and other algae that grow in our waters,” Evans said.

While the algae isn’t as prominent on the island as in the river and canals — Mayor Kevin Ruane said even just the perception keeps people away.

“I was just with an owner of a hotel Saturday night … and he said his August numbers are 70 percent off,” Ruane said.

Tourist Tammy Troutman added she would have done more research.

“We would probably check it out better before we came back,” Tammy said.

Ruane is bringing these concerns to Washington D.C. next week.

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