Navarre Beach has been impacted by the red tide. It has led to respiratory problems for people on the beach and the sand is littered with dead fish.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received calls about both problems. Reports of red tide and fish kills were reported in other areas of the state as well.
Kelly Richmond, who works in the communications office of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said red tide isn’t uncommon at this time of the year.
“There is a seasonality to blooms of the species Karenia brevis, commonly known as the Florida red tide organism,” Richmond said. “Blooms typically start offshore in the late summer and early fall when deep waters up-well. That said, blooms have occurred in other seasons, depending largely on the physics in the Gulf.”
Red tide can cause respiratory or skin irritation, causing an itchy throat or coughing. It can also irritate pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma. Some swimmers experience skin irritation and rashes after swimming in water impacted by a severe red tide. Dead fish often wash ashore during a red tide and it is advised that swimmers avoid areas where dead fish are present.
The recent storm from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia didn’t help matters as it created strong winds, raising the threat of respiratory problems, which were reported at Navarre Beach, Miramar Beach and Destin Pass.
“With the storm coming onshore, winds can cause more potential for respiratory irritation than offshore winds,” Richmond said. “We also got quite a few phone calls to our Fish Kill Hotline from Destin Pass, Panama City Beach, Navarre Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Miramar Beach and the Shalimar Yacht Basin.”