SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) – Red tide continues to impact all 16 beaches in Sarasota County. According to the county’s latest update Wednesday, staff evaluating beach conditions noticed mild respiratory irritation and moderate amounts of marine debris accumulating on Lido and Siesta Beaches.
Hundreds of dead fish were also spotted further south, on Caspersen Beach in Venice. Tourists from all across the country flocked to the southern county beach Wednesday in hopes of finding shark teeth.
Tara Kersch, who is visiting from Tennessee, says the red tide has put a damper on her summertime vacation.
“We came down here to get some shark teeth, but we just can’t do it, it is too gross,” said Kersch. “It kind of ruined our vacation and our day,” she continued.
Kersch says she spotted dead eel, pufferfish, and several other species lining the beach. She explained the view of dead fish isn’t the Florida she remembers.
“This is ruining tourism. It is kind of giving me a headache too. It is making me want to leave Florida and not come back,” said Kersch. “This is the worst. I think we are going to head into Orlando to get away from the ocean,” she said.
Not everyone was bothered by the red tide. Tony Chung is visiting from Atlanta and says he is making the most of the trip with his two sons.
“It doesn’t seem as bad as what we had thought. When you Google red tide, it looks a lot worse,” said Chung.
Sarasota County officials say there are no red tide cleanup operations underway or planned at this point in time. Staff, however, will continue to evaluate conditions daily to determine if the county’s beach cleanup policy will be activated.
“The beach cleanup policy was approved by the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners in 2013, to provide direction for managing the removal of seaweed, dead fish and other marine debris left behind from storms and tidal changes. The policy allows Sarasota County to collect/remove marine debris manually or mechanically that span more than two miles of public beach and are not naturally removed by tidal cycles,” explained county officials in an update Wednesday.