With red tide killing sea life by the thousands, you might wonder if it’s safe to eat fish caught in the gulf.

The concerns are justified. The red tide can make your nose run or throat scratchy. 

And it’s killing tons and tons of fish.

Red tide isn’t keeping fishermen from casting their lines at the Sunshine Skyway Fishing pier.

“We’re after grouper and tonight, try to see if we can catch some crab. That’s it,” said Chon Yang.

But scenes of dead fish on the beach could make you lose your appetite for seafood. What could have been tasty delicacies are rotting in the hot Florida sun.

The red tide appears to be creeping north, as indicated by the red dots on a map from the Florida Wildlife Commission.

Fishermen are hoping for the best.

“I heard it’s okay to eat ’em as long as their acting normally and they’re not floating on top of the water,” said Kevin Lawless.

Is that the case?

8 On Your Side asked USF St. Petersburg Fisheries Scientist Dr. Steven Murawski.

“The guidance is generally yes. If you catch a live fish and filet it, it should be fine for human consumption,” said Dr. Murawski.

But what about all those dead fish you see on the beach? It looks like a virtual smorgasbord.

“What kills the animal is a neurotoxin. And neurotoxins, they don’t degrade that well. I mean, they survive cooking for example, and so it’s just not a good idea to eat anything that’s previously dead,” said Dr. Murawski.

And you really don’t know how long it’s been out, spoiling in the hot sun.

Dr. Murawski warns to stay away from shellfish in the red tide zone.

It goes without saying,  don’t eat the fish guts.