Red tide: Sarasota County’s guest that won’t seem to go away

Red Tide

VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) – The devastating 2018 red tide bloom left its mark on the Tampa Bay area. It hurt businesses and kept tourists away from the beach.

We’ve bounced back since then, but in recent weeks a new bloom has loomed around the area, and it doesn’t seem to want to leave.

Venice Beach was full of visitors Monday and there were no dead fish to be seen, but Gordon and Donna Oldland knew better. They stayed out of the water.

Over the past week, they’ve had a lot of respiratory issues.

“We don’t go in yet, because you can still see, within the first four feet of water, some of it still looks muddy instead of crystal clear so I’ll wait for that to go away,” said Donna Oldland.

It’s no surprise because, according to the latest map from FWC, there are high concentrations of red tide all along Sarasota County beaches.

The bloom drifted from the Naples area and recently has stalled around Sarasota County.

Over the weekend, there were reported fish kills throughout the area.

“What you gonna do? It’s nature,” said Gordon Sondland.

Down the road at Englewood Beach, there’s one business owner who knows this area best.

“I’m The Beach Guy of Englewood Beach!” said Mark Timchula.

The Beach Guy rents chairs and umbrellas. Last year hit him hard.

“We actually had to close for three and a half months and didn’t do any business around that time,” said Timchula.

This latest bloom has him worried.

“It is sad to see it back because I thought it was gone for a year or two but looks like we’re going to have a little bout of it every once in a while. It’s hard to get rid of,” said Timchula.

He keeps his customers updated on social media. He knows it could hurt his business, but he feels he has a duty to let them know.

“If I don’t want to be out here breathing it, I don’t think the customers should be out here breathing it either,” said Timchula.

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