COCOA BEACH, Florida — Thousands of fish were found dead on Cocoa Beach on Friday, days after preliminary tests confirmed the presence of Florida red tide in the waters off Brevard County.
- Officals warn people with respiratory conditions to stay away
- People say they have suffered with coughing, nasal problems
- Keep Brevard Beautiful calling for volunteers for dead fish cleanup
- SEE BELOW: Map of how red tide has spread around Florida▼
Levels of red tide were detected along several Brevard County beaches this week and on Friday, a huge fish kill was discovered at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach.
The fish kill extends for a mile -- from 4th Street South up to Shepard Park South, mostly concentrated at Lori Wilson Park -- where dead 'pogies' line the sand almost as far as you can see.
"It's terrible, I mean, just scan -- there are thousands of dead fish laying here," said Jamie Bragg, who lives up the way in Cape Canaveral. "The wildlife we are losing, the tourism we are losing."
In Satellite Beach, for example, some of the highest levels were detected.
This has caused beachgoers to complain about respiratory issues and people working along the beach, including lifeguards, were spotted wearing facemasks to protect them from the effects from red tide.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), there have also been reports of dead fish washing ashore due to the red tide.
Signs have been ordered to put up near lifeguard stands and hotels to warn people about where the naturally occurring algae is impacting.
Meantime, beachside schools are monitoring the situation that could affect outdoor sporting events moving forward.
On the East Coast, the red tide spans from Brevard all the way to Miami-Dade County.
Springing into Action
Once the scope of the kill was realized, Keep Brevard Beautiful sprang into action.
Volunteers hit the beach, armed with shovels, rakes and masks, trying to get up as many fish as possible -- a daunting task.
Business owners on the coast are concerned that if the red tide sticks around it could hurt business.
"The last few days have been a little irritating to the nose, throat, a little bit on the eyes. Mainly when you step over the cross over on the beach you start to notice it in your nose," said Skyler Baker of the Island Watercraft Rentals.
"High" concentrations were detected at one site in Indian River County, which is just south of Brevard County.
The county worked with the FWC to establish the six locations that would be tested.
The Florida Department of Health is urging people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions for now to keep their distance.
Officials are also urging people to keep dogs out of the water -- the foam from the waves is 10 times more toxic than the water.
KBB is putting out a plea for volunteers, as this fish clean up could take days. They will provide cleanup supplies if you are interested in assisting with the cleanup efforts.
Please contact the KBB office with your name, phone number, days of availability, and location.
- Phone: 321-631-050
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Volusia County Residents Concerned About Red Tide
With evidence of red tide in Brevard County, people in the next county north are worried.
There is no evidence of the toxic algae bloom at beaches in Volusia County, but they are closely monitoring the situation.
One woman who enjoys walking on the beach each evening says she is worried she will have to stay off the beach if red tide creeps further north up the Atlantic coast.
Greg Pallone contributed to this story.