Algae Blooms Plaguing Gulf Coast

Red Tide
TAMPA (2011-7-29) -

Several fish kills have been connnected to a dark blob of water sitting off the Gulf Coast of Florida. Several agencies are investigating what appears to be a large algae bloom offshore.

Officials with the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in St. Petersburg are getting samples of water and fish from the affected area, just off the beaches of northern Collier County. Early results show levels of oxygen in the water have plummeted enough to kill the fish, says commission spokeswoman Wendy Quigley.

"We sent a small vessel with some researchers offshore from Lover's Key in northern Collier County," she says, "to the south about twenty miles, taking samples at various locations to monitor for the presence of algal bloom conditions offshore."

This kind of algae blooms are not uncommon in the summer, when the Gulf temperatures heat up. Quigley says early next week, Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota plans to launch a robotic glider into the Gulf to take more samples.

Anyone wanting to report a fish kill can call the Commission's hotline at 1-800-636-0511.

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