ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The red tide crisis has the City of St. Petersburg on high alert, and Mayor Rick Kriseman says it’s time for the state to step in and help.

“We are asking the governor, please: Pinellas County, St. Pete – we need your help,” Mayor Kriseman said Wednesday. “These city employees are busting their humps to try to take care of this.”

A city spokesman said more than 200 city employees are working long days cleaning up red tide graveyards like the one at Crisp Par, and they are exhausted.

According to the mayor,  500 tons of dead fish have been collected in the last month in St. Pete alone.

“It’s pretty awful. The odor sticks to you. It stays in your nasal passages. And then there’s the emotional toll of dealing with the dead animals,” he said.

City workers are being poached left and right, leaving vacancies on playground, sidewalk and gutter maintenance jobs.

“Put politics to the side. It’s nothing to do with that. It’s about getting the bay cleaned and getting the quality of life. That’s what we’re all looking for,” Stormwater Operations Supervisor Charles Hargrove said.

The city made it clear that they are not collecting dead fish on private property.

“You may bag your fish up. We suggest you double bag them and put them in your residential solid waste container, but we also have dumpsters,” Kriseman said.

Seven dumpsters around the city are designated “For Dead Fish Only”:

  • Crisp Park Flora Wylie Park
  • Lassing Park
  • Demen’s Landing Park
  • Grande View Park
  • Bay Vista Park
  • Maximo Park

A city spokesman said most of the dead fish go to a county incinerator and some will go to the landfill.