Center for Biological Diversity calls for accountability over Florida’s red tide

red tide fish kill beach

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Red tide is killing marine life off the coast of Southwest Florida, and the Center for Biological Diversity is calling on government officials to be held accountable for their role.

A red tide is a higher-than-normal concentration of microscopic algae and can discolor water a red or brown hue. Red tide kills fish, contaminates shellfish, and causes respiratory irritation in humans.

It was found in samples from Pinellas County to Collier County, with the highest concentrations in Pinellas and Sarasota, and Ragan Whitlock, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, says it is turning our waterways into a wasteland.

“Until Florida takes aggressive steps to clean up pollution from agriculture septic tanks and failing wastewater systems, the red tides will continue to foul our once pristine waterways year after year. It’s an unfortunate reality.” Whitlock told WMNF News.

Whitlock cites the Piney Point phosphate disaster as an example of an act of pollution that contributes to red tide.

“In 2021 the Piney Point phosphate facility dumped 215 million gallons of nutrient-laden waste into Tampa Bay, which fueled a deadly red tide that killed more than 600 tons of marine life in Tampa Bay alone.”

He calls on Floridians to reach out to their legislature and advocate for the protection of Florida’s bays and waterways.