Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Health News Florida

Red Tide: Smell Of Dead Fish Permeates Downtown St. Pete Waterfront

st pete waterfront red tide.jpg
Steve Newborn
The smell of dead fish permeated the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront, as scores of catfish and horseshoe crabs floated belly-up in the shadow of the downtown marina.

Thousands of fish continued to litter the St. Petersburg waterfront Monday, even after 15 tons had been scooped out of Tampa Bay by city crews.

Thousands of fish killed by red tide in Tampa Bay continued to litter the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront Monday, even after 15 tons had been scooped out of the water by city crews.

Chris Kuhn was walking his dog along the waterfront, shaking his head at the carnage just offshore.

"I've lived down here for seven years. I've never noticed it being this bad, like when you're walking along the bayfront, I've walked down here often — I've never seen this many dead fish right here.

"I never noticed it downtown, here in the bay, nearly as bad as this," he said. "And today in particular — compared to the past week or two — we walk here nearly every day. This is the worst I've ever seen it. I've never seen so many, so close," he said.

His father, Bob Kuhn, is visiting from Chicago.

badabing st pete red tide.jpg
Steve Newborn
Employees of Bada Bing watersports in downtown St. Petersburg sit idled by the red tide.

"We come down and visit, and I've never seen it like this — ever. It's just kind of interesting to see this — I've never seen anything like it," he said.

One city worker filling black trash bags along the sea wall said the red tide also claimed a grouper that weighed about 300 pounds.

Doug Byrd of St. Petersburg operates Bada Bing Water Sports. He said thousands of dead fish had appeared in just one day as city workers had cleaned the marina the day before.

"This is actually just from last evening, after 8 o'clock is when we closed and you didn't have any fish in here," he said Monday. "The smell is absolutely horrific. Yesterday, midday, when people were coming here, people just couldn't stand it. They were coughing. This is obviously the worst that we have had in years. Right here in downtown St. Pete."

Byrd said as bad it was downtown, it was even worse a mile to the north.

"If you go toward Snell Isle and Coffee Pot Bayout, it is just infested," he said. "I mean, we think we've got a bad here, it's trapped down there."

Byrd said he had seen a dead dolphin floating in Tampa Bay.

Copyright 2021 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7