Red Tides in the US?


Stephanie West, Staff Writer

Florida is supposed to be “The Sunshine State” right… where everyone goes on vacation and visits the beaches to have fun and be worry free. Well, this time around, not everyone will be quite so willing to get into the water. Pollution has gone unmonitored for years– now it has started to badly affect the ecosystem. Thousands of marine animals are washing up on shores, dead.  One beach even had a dead whale shark wash up on the beach.

These deaths are due to the unexpected high rate of algae blooms in the ocean and other sources of water around the country, causing the amount of blue-green algae to go up. Not to mention that the marine animals aren’t the only ones being greatly affected by this; scientists are looking into the water to see if this is safe to drink, with unfortunate results.

But this isn’t the first time this has happened. Red tides are when the toxic red algae, toxic red dinoflagellates, bloom in the ocean. During this time death is to be expected, but not this much. In 1996, after 151 manatees washed up dead on the shore, the government ordered the water to be tracked more closely at water levels to prevent such incidents from happening again. However, due to budget cuts over the years from the state, the ability to keep up with the algae blooms was greatly diminished– leaving the people ignorant of what was to come with this year’s red tide.

This isn’t only affecting the consumers though. It has also taken a great hit on the marine life of Florida beach towns. People are reluctant to go to the beach if it is littered with the carcasses of marine life. The hotels and resorts are losing business as well as the restaurants and fishermen.