Florida beaches see nearly 800 tons of dead fish, washed up on marine life

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The Tampa Bay-St. The Petersburg area of ​​Florida has nearly 800 tons of a particularly smelly problem.

Thousands of dead fish and marine life have washed up on area beaches largely due to the red tide caused by toxic algal blooms.

CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA REMOTE FISH MORTALITY IN DROUGHT, CLIMATE CHANGE

According to the mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman, the authorities are working to alleviate the problem.

“Almost 800 tonnes now. We will ignore the policy of the governor’s office and continue to work with other state and county officials to get these fish out of the water,” he tweeted the week. last.

According to Kriseman and other critics, Gov. Ron DeSantis downplayed the seriousness of the threat, and a spokesperson for the governor suggested that Kriseman had “deliberately lied” about the need for state aid, according to the Gov. Tampa Bay Times.

DeSantis claimed to be aware of the case, working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to respond.

“My administration and @FLDEPNews have committed over $ 2 million to respond to the red tide in Tampa Bay. Clean-up efforts are underway and @MyFWC has improved surveillance efforts by 165% year-on-year. other, ”DeSantis tweeted on Sunday. “We will continue to work with local governments to provide assistance and identify ways to mitigate the red tide.”

“It’s everyone on the bridge to protect Tampa Bay. DEP and @MyFWC have stepped up water monitoring in the greater Tampa Bay area,” the Florida Department of Environmental Protection wrote in a separate article.

However, many still want DeSantis to declare a state of emergency to help free up resources for the region, and the St. Petersburg city council has passed a resolution calling for a declaration of emergency.

DeSantis refused, saying a statewide emergency order was not necessary because there were sufficient funds available from the State Department of Environmental Protection.

More than 100 people gathered to protest this weekend on the St. Petersburg waterfront, calling on waterway polluters.

Although algae blooms can occur naturally, NPR said blooms are rarely seen in the summer and in the Tampa Bay area.

Warmer waters, a change in salinity, more carbon dioxide, changes in precipitation and sea level rise all help provide a hospitable environment for flowers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The reason for fish mortality is the subject of debate – although Tropical Storm Elsa recently whipped the coasts of Florida.

Scientists are studying though the rapid spread of red tide blooms is tied to the state’s decision to pump 215 million gallons of polluted sewage into Tampa Bay last spring.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission previously said the Piney Point spill did not cause a red tide in Tampa Bay, but it may have made conditions worse.

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Fish deaths and red tide outbreaks are also reported in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Notably, the red tide can cause breathing problems in some people, especially those with existing conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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