It’s become a fall tradition in Southwest Florida: Red tide reports are creeping in, and a few localized fish kills have been reported in Boca Bayou and on Sanibel Island. The thing to remember is that while red tide is nasty stuff, the blooms are usually relatively small. Don’t rely on TV news to get this important aspect right; usually, they make it sound like the entire Southwest Florida coastline is screwed.
Red tide, which is caused by a type of algae known as Karenia brevis, has been a big problem the last few years. While there’s never a right time for an outbreak, we’ve been burdened with particularly bad timing lately. September and October is when our big schools of redfish come in from offshore to spawn, and that’s when red tide decided to show up for four of the last seven years.
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