MEATEATER: Florida’s Fight to Save Legendary Fisheries

July 23, 2021
Writer: Maggie Hudlow
July 23rd, 2021

Florida offers arguably some of the best fishing in our nation. However, mismanagement of freshwater has led to toxic algal blooms, seagrass die-offs, and an astounding number of fish kills across the Sunshine State. But after about two decades of discussion, action is finally happening to address this monumental man-made issue.

The red tide is currently plaguing the Tampa Bay area, and this year brings one of the worst cases the Gulf Coast of Florida has seen in over 50 years. It’s also unusual for such an extreme bloom to occur in the middle of summer. Although a large spill from the Piney Point phosphate plant could be fueling this phenomenon, it’s likely not the sole contributor. Officials have cleaned up at least 600 tons of dead fish and marine life this summer—from forage fish to tarpon to manatees. This algae is not picky with what it kills in its suffocating presence.