Thousands of dead fish, air that is difficult to breathe... Florida's heavenly beaches have turned into a real nightmare. Almost all the holidaymakers have deserted and the locals are living a nightmare because of the phenomenon of "red tide" - caused by the proliferation of a toxic algae called Karenia brevis - which extends over 250 kilometers of coast, from the north of the bay from Tampa to the city of Naples, reports the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The algae Karenia brevis occurs naturally in the Gulf of Mexico, but water pollution promotes its proliferation. From the air, the authorities were able to see the damage, reddish nets extending for tens of kilometers.
The FWC, which notably controls marine fauna and regulates fishing in Florida waters, was able to confirm the presence of this toxic algae by taking numerous samples and has drawn up a map of the places where the concentration of toxins is the highest. The coasts of Pinellas counties – where the city of Clearwater is located – and Sarasota are particularly affected.
The "red tide" phenomenon is not only toxic to fish. The algae releases poisonous and pestilential vapors into the air. Birds, like seagulls, all get sick. And people in affected areas experience symptoms similar to seasonal allergies: itchy or burning eyes, itchy skin and throat. The FWC urges the public and tourists not to swim in infected areas.