Wednesday, October 10, 2012


We went to the beach on our first day here in Venice, but I have not been back since then. I started coughing right away, as soon as my feet hit the sand, and I knew that red tide was the culprit. I was right. According to the paper, this has been the largest outbreak of red tide since 2007. The bloom is affecting a hundred miles of west Florida coastline and killing thousands of fish. Seven tons of dead fish have been cleared off area beaches in the past two days.   Mike went for a look.   Caspersen Beach is a designated rural beach and they tend to leave it to the forces of nature a bit more than the better known and more ‘civilized’ beaches like Venice Beach and Nokomis Beach. North of us in Sarasota, the beach on Siesta Key, is just out of the range of this red tide bloom. I expect the turkey buzzards will be taking over Caspersen in a few weeks.   From today’s Herald Tribune:
"It is a pretty big red tide bloom. If we look at the linear distance along the coast, we're looking at nearly 100 miles," said Alina Corcoran, a research scientist in charge of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service's harmful algal bloom program. "It doesn't look like it's going away any time soon." Florida red tide blooms are caused by single cell algae called Karenia brevis. The algae occur naturally at very low levels, usually about 30 miles offshore. Often during the fall, ocean currents transport the red tide to the coast and if conditions are right, the cells proliferate into a toxic bloom. Scientists are still unsure about what causes the blooms. Corcoran said they usually originate about 30 to 40 miles offshore and occasionally get drawn toward the coast by ocean and wind currents. Once the algae reach the coastline they will feast on any nutrient source available, such as the nitrogen and phosphorus found in fertilizers.

  Besides the stench of dead fish, the toxins in the air cause breathing problems for people and animals. Those with respiratory problems are warned to stay away from the beaches. You won’t have to tell me twice. I won’t be returning to Vermont with my usual bag of shells, but I have been enjoying our park pool.   WARNING:  The following are not pretty. DSCN2117 Can you imagine walking on this beach?


Can you see the teeth on this moray eel?  These things are in the water.  I have decided I really like the clean, clear water of the pool.


  1. Oh, ick. I'd choose the pool, too.

  2. Yikes! Is this phenomenon common only in the south or on the gulf? I've heard of our NJ shores having a fish kill on very rare occasions, but nothing like what you describe. A chlorinated pool definitely sounds better!

  3. Yuck - not a pretty picture. I'd stay away too.

  4. Red tides are larger and worse due to pollution. Once the oxygen levels drop the red algae takes off. I have been in Florida during these blooms and do not linger near, as these toxins are really nasty.

  5. That is too sad. besides the ocean currents I think that nitrogen levels are increasing in the ocean waters because of too much carBon dioxide. It has been suggested that our oceans are becoming too acidic from this issue.
    Sad how what we have created fo our better way of life is killing all things around us:(
    Glad to learn the pool gives you comfort.

  6. How disappointing, but I'm with you, a pool is a lovely alternative.

  7. Good for you for documenting this issue. I'm sorry for your allergies. They are terrible. Two of my 3 adult children are allergic to cats. When they visit, we give them allergy pills. So crazy!
    Thanks for visiting my tours! We have been having great day trips. WIth my health issues, they are the way to go for us!
    Cheers from Cottage Country!

  8. yuck! Stay away it sounds dangerous!! Sorry about the shells, and that you can't walk along the beach. How long does this last? I always tell our friends who want me to go swimming in their lake; "I will go in, once you concrete it and paint it an aqua blue!!!"

  9. I remember going to Bradenton beach a number of years ago (in the late 1990s) and coming face to face with a red tide. It was pretty bad. I think it's one of those naturally occurring phenomena that appear every once in a while, but no doubt pollution and warmer waters make it worse.

    May it go away soon, and leave you with those beautiful pristine beaches once again.

  10. Wow. i had no idea red tides were that destructive. We have red tide shell fish warnings - don't eat them, they are toxic- but not large scale kills or breathing issues.


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  12. Wow! I've never even heard of red tide, or, if I did, I didn't pay attention.

  13. I think California had a real problem with it last year. It is supposedly beautiful at night in that it turns the water a bright blue.


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