PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As red tide persists throughout Tampa Bay, a Pinellas County man who owns a glass-bottom kayak business is concerned for neighbors he knows around the McPherson Bayou, saying that fish are literally washing in to the houses during high tide.
David Metcalfe is the CEO and president of Sharkey’s Water Sports Glass Bottom Tours. One of the company’s launch locations is near the McPherson Bayou.
He’s concerned about the coves surrounding the low-lying neighborhood because he says fish are dying in front of their tours.
“But now they have the fish kill. When the tides come up… the fish are literally washing into the streets in this neighborhood,” he said.
“These coves, when they get dead fish in like this, these fish also die and are giving fuel to the red tide. One of our biggest concerns is actually causing a dead zone here, because of the amount of fish that are dying and not being cleaned up,” he added. “Continuously feeding the red tide. Eventually [it will] kill everything in these coves. To have that recover would just be years and would just be completely catastrophic.”
Metcalfe is asking for help around the St. Pete Beach bayou, specifically in the neighborhoods around the Don Cesar hotel. With every tour, customers help clean up trash and debris from the water, but Metcalfe said their efforts just aren’t enough for what he’s seeing. His crew of eight people just isn’t enough.
“It just seems to come back more and more every time. We just don’t have the assets with our kayaks and our crew to clean up,” he said.
His plea is for that those in the Tampa Bay area take the algal bloom, and its effects, seriously.
“[People think] that maybe if we let it go off on its own to decompose on its own, it’s just going to go away, and that’s just not the case. We really have to work together as a community,” Metcalfe said.