New-Press: Dead fish and testy meetings: Red tide unfolds in different ways up and down Florida’s southwest coast

July 28, 2021
Amy Bennett Williams
July 28th, 2021

Windrows of rotting fish, bloated, bobbing manatee carcasses, eye-watering stench: Pinellas, Sarasota and Manatee counties’ current reality is Lee and Collier’s nightmare – one many residents lived  in 2018 and hope never to repeat.

Throughout the region, agencies and nonprofits are working on short-term projects and long-term systemic fixes to keep the saltwater dinoflagellate Karenia brevis from wreaking havoc.

In Collier County, all beaches are clear, according to the county’s pollution control website: “We have not received any reports of dead fish or respiratory irritation.”

To the north in Lee, “Our water is about as good as I’ve ever seen it in mid-July. It’s clear and it looks amazing right now,” said Daniel Andrews, the charter captain-turned-water-crusader who helped found the nonprofit Captains for Clean Water.

Of course, there’s a “but.”