Last year’s red tide was one of the worst in our generation.
Hundreds of sea turtles, thousands of fish and at least a hundred manatees were found dead, overcome by the neurotoxin produced by tiny algae called Karenia brevis algae — a single-celled organism which has an annual bloom cycle that spread across 130 miles of Florida’s Gulf coast last year.
Though the bloom caused NOAA Fisheries to declare an unusual mortality event, it dissipated last winter, and the impacts stretched far beyond ocean wildlife.
Peaking in October of last year, the most recent case of red tide receded after thirteen months of significant damage to marine life, the tourism industry and coastal businesses.
Now as red tide is detected again along the shores of Manatee County, take is a look at the massive cost of waiting out the problem along Florida’s Gulf coast.