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Hurricane Matthew Blamed For Red Tide In Southwest Florida

Naples_Beach1.jpg
Marc Ryckaert (Wikimedia Commons)

Red tide possibly pushed close to shore by Hurricane Matthew's winds is being blamed for killing thousands of fish that have washed up on beaches in southwest Florida.

Collier County officials say the hurricane likely steered the red tide through the Gulf of Mexico. Red tide is the bloom of toxin-producing algae that can stun the nervous systems of fish.

The dead fish were found late this week on beaches stretching from Marco Island to Barefoot Beach, including the city of Naples.

The Naples Daily News reports that crews were using tractors dragging large rakes to clear the beaches. But officials say more dead fish are likely to wash ashore in coming days.

Red tide also can cause respiratory issues and skin irritation in humans.