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Fish kills found along Fort Myers Beach, red tide concentrations linger off coast

Our crew saw dead fish washed up on shore about every 10 feet along a popular Southwest Florida beach to begin the week. The sight and smell left many beachgoers disgusted.

What is likely the presence of red tide was noticeable on Fort Myers Beach Monday.

The latest red tide map showed medium concentrations near Fort Myers Beach, with higher levels remaining south near Collier County.

This latest red tide map, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, shows concentrations of red tide along the Southwest Florida coast. Credit: WINK News.

We were at Bowditch Point Park on Fort Myers Beach, where we asked beachgoers if it was worth the drive to enjoy the water and the sand.

“I’ll still take a little red tide over the snow any day,” said Mike Ryan, who was visiting the region from Ohio.

While he said he had seen a couple dead fish during his visit, it was at a height for him will at Bowditch Point Monday.

“I saw a couple dead fish on the other side of the beach a few days ago. I took a pretty long walk and only saw a couple,” Ryan said. “Today, it looks a lot worse. Like, there’s dead fish all over the place right here.”

Dead fish could be seen on the sand and floating in the water.

“It hasn’t been too detrimental to day-to-day activities, but it is a little, with the COVID stuff going on,” Ryan said. “It’s kind of scary to hear people coughing all the time too.”

But it was a different story for Brenda and Rick Schmidt over at Lynn Hall Park.

“Today it seems just fine,” Rick said. “We haven’t seen any dead fish. Everything seems really clean so far today.”

That was a change from a couple days ago.

“We were walking, and my husband was noticing, ‘Gosh, you’re coughing a lot,’ you know?” Brenda said. “And we did notice a couple dead fish down a little bit south here, but you know so far, we haven’t noticed too much this morning.”

The number of fish that wash up can change day-to-day based on the winds. The Florida Department of Health recommends not to swim around dead fish, and keep pets away from dead marine life.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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