Red tide cleanup begins in Pinellas County – CBS Tampa
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Red tide cleanup is underway in Pinellas County.
Over the next few days, emergency officials will be at Dunedin beach to remove dead fish from the water, and officials say this is the first time in more than two years that emergency services have been deployed to help deal with the red tide situation.
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On Honeymoon Island, cleanup crews are busy removing dead fish from the water. Officials say they have already filled three dumpsters with dead fish and more needs to be done.
Neil Effer, a resident of Pinellas County, said: “I was here yesterday morning trying to fish, and noticed that there were unfortunately some dead baitfish along the south side. of the roadway. “
Jay Gunter, regional director of emergency services for the DRC has been called in to clean up the red tide. He says “by the bags, each boat makes a couple every hour.”
Thousands of dead fish fill the beaches of Pinellas County.
“This is really the first time since 2018, this is the first time the county has activated us to help,” said Gunter.
Gunter says it’s sad to see red tides killing so many wild animals.
“If we don’t take them off the beach, it’s an environmental issue,” Gunter said.
But even more, says Gunter, after the pandemic, Tampa Bay’s economy is at the center of its concerns.
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“People can finally come out, finally enjoy things. We need tourists, we need residents to feel comfortable at home, and we all need a little bit of comfort right now, ”Gunter said.
Gunter says cleaning 38 miles of beach is no easy task.
“We are here with several boats and landing crews on the beach picking them up manually,” Gunter said.
Ahead of several days of clean-up efforts, Governor Ron DeSantis held a meeting with scientists in St. Petersburg on Thursday to discuss the red tide blooms and ongoing research on them. In its latest budget, DeSantis included $ 4.2 million for the Center for Red Tide Research.
“The local communities, the counties too are quite short. COVID-19 has taken a toll on them and the taxpayers, so any help from the state is certainly welcome, ”Gunter said.
Local residents say they hope the red tide blooms can be managed in the future.
“That’s life, not really happy about it. It’s not good for the fish, ”said Effer.
“Mother Nature has her own way of doing things and telling us what we’re going to do, but I can tell you we’re going to react and we’re going to clean up,” Gunter said.
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USF scientists predict that red tide blooms will continue to move north over the next four days.