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A toxic algae bloom is devastating the Florida coast and its surrounding waters, killing endangered sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, manatees and a plethora of fish.
The algal overgrowth occurs each year but intensifies because of heat, pollution and stagnant water. It first started in October, but has quickly become the longest outbreak to hit the southwest coast since 2006, reports the Huffington Post.
Parts - State - Water - Gunk - Sunlight
In some parts of the state, the water is covered in green gunk which blocks sunlight and oxygen from getting to marine vegetation, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Online records, kept by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, show that approximately 80 manatees have died because of the red tide this year. In 2017, only 67 manatees died compared to 277 in 2014, 151 in 1996 and 100 in 2003.
Records - Hammerhead - Sharks - Whale - Shark
Records also show that hammerhead sharks and at least one whale shark have died because of the algae. Photos also show a dead dolphin wash up on shore.
Sea Turtles are taking even a larger hit, with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation reporting that 91 sick/dead turtles have been picked up on the Sanibel Island.
Average - Year - June - July - Kelly
'Our average for the entire year is usually around 30 or 35, but we've had 53 in June and July alone,' said Kelly Sloan, a sea turtle researcher for the foundation.
In Sarasota County, 100 turtles have been plucked while another 66 have been scooped out of the waters in Collier.
'It - Mass - Mortality - Sloan - Month
'It's really disheartening to see this mass mortality,' Sloan said. 'This is the 10th month of the red tide event, and it's the longest continued bloom since 2006.'
And people can have complications because of the algae, as well.
July - People - Monday - Tuesday - Martin
Back in July, 15 people were treated on Monday and Tuesday by the Martin Health System for symptoms related to algae toxins....
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