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Most Sea Turtle Deaths For Single Red Tide Event

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission red tide map, as of Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.
FWC website
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The latest red tide report shows high concentrations of the toxic algae blooms in Sarasota and Collier counties. This nearly 16-month red tide event has killed more sea turtles than ever recorded.

Respiratory irritation related to red tide was also reported over the past week in Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

The said that since red tide blooms started spreading across the gulf in 2017, 589 sea turtles have died.

"This is the largest number of stranded sea turtles due to a single red tide event," said the FWC's Michelle Kerr. 

She said the agency also documented at least 211 manatee deaths related to red tide in Southwest Florida last year.

"The peak of red tide--when it was the most widespread and highest concentrations--was last summer and fall," she said. "Biologists were responding rapidly and constantly."

Kerr said the FWC relies a lot on the public to report marine animals in distress by calling their wildlife alert hotline: 888-404-FWCC (3922).

As the partial government shutdown enters its fourth week, some federal red tide trackers and other resources are not available, but the FWC is still releasing its red tide status reports Wednesdays and Fridays.

Copyright 2019 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of All Things Consideredfor WGCU News.
Jessica Meszaros
Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of Morning Edition at WUSF Public Media.