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Scientists reluctant to stop 'red tide' algae bloom

Scientists Reluctant To Stop 'Red Tide' Algae Bloom

Beachgoers could soon be seeing red off the Florida coast. A microscopic algae is growing out of control in the Gulf Coast. Although it can be toxic to marine life, some scientists are unsure if stopping it is the best option.

"Scientists say a huge bloom of red tide is coming to Florida's west coast and this could be the biggest bloom the state has seen in more than ten years. They say it has already killed thousands of fish out in the gulf and moving Southwest." (Video via WTVT)

‚Äč‚ÄčKarenia brevis, or K. brevis for short, is the blood red algae to blame. On Monday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the bloom was a whopping 90 miles long, 60 miles wide -- and growing. It sits just 20 miles off the coast of western Florida. Researchers monitoring the bloom say it was around 80 miles wide a few weeks ago.

This event is often called the "Florida Red Tide" and occurs when the K. brevis algae begins to multiply rapidly. The algae releases toxins into the ocean which are harmful to marine life.

The commission reports its hotline has already received reports of thousands of dead reef fish. While it's not deadly to humans, the toxins could become an airborne threat and move on shore where they can irritate those living with asthma or emphysema. Despite its current size, several media outlets pointed out it's the not the biggest bloom ever recorded, but it is the largest since 2005.

In fact, Florida's Red Tide is not an unusual event and is well-documented by researchers. That said, a Wildlife Conservation commissioner told WFTS the tide reminds him of a destructive bloom in 2005 that reached Florida's shores.

"In 2005 we also had a hipoxic event near the same area, and it killed a lot of reefs and reef fish. So we're kind of nervous seeing that again."

These algae blooms are also naturally occurring. The Orlando Sentinel reports this puts scientists in a tough position - they have little control over the algae and some don't think it should be disturbed. Hayley Rutger, a spokeswoman with Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium explains...

"Because they are naturally occurring, if you try to alter them you could affect other marine life in ways you hadn't bargained for. Trying to affect the bloom in some way is a lot more complicated than you'd want it to be."

NBC reports last Thursday, researchers predicted the algae bloom could reach Florida shores within the next two weeks.

This video includes images from Flickr and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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clb45para August 12 2014 at 6:50 PM

I've lived in Florida for over 65 years, and we have always had it. Tree huggers LOVE nature, until it does something that THEY don't like, then THEY want to change nature.

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3 replies
silkroadg August 12 2014 at 6:15 PM

A CERTAIN sign of GLOBAL WARMING...........RUN FOR YOUR LIVES......and yes.........it's ALL BUSHES FAULT. Thank God we have MOOOOOOOOCHELLE to make a hashtag and TURN BACK THIS RED TIDE!!!

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3 replies
goodgrief61945 August 12 2014 at 6:36 PM

They are reluctent to stop it, because they can't.

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1 reply
luvmadolls2 goodgrief61945 August 12 2014 at 9:16 PM

You are just about right - and it comes in and goes away every darn year whether they want it to or not.

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dktarver August 12 2014 at 6:48 PM

and we all know that scientists are right all of the time. depends on who is paying for their study as to what the outcome is.

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3 replies
Stryyder56 August 12 2014 at 8:54 PM

Uh oh, no one to sue this time............oh wait, maybe, just maybe the EPA can fine the red tide............or better yet place limits on where it can go and how big it can get. After all they seem to want to stop everything else.................

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1 reply
mo524 Stryyder56 August 13 2014 at 6:26 PM

Yeah how dare they make sure I have air to breath and water to drink it really is horrible of them to make sure I can live.

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rosspoling August 12 2014 at 6:44 PM

Could all the problems come from dumping seage and fertlizer run off. We can stop it by stopping duming laws. Also BP did not help with there spill.

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Pope John August 12 2014 at 9:00 PM

Leave it alone! Maybe it will eat Florida!

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4 replies
Franco August 13 2014 at 12:38 AM

Leave the friggen natural bloom alone. Messing with nature can be toxic.

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hangey August 12 2014 at 7:14 PM

My husband got hepatitis from eating raw clams in Boston. We were told that there had been a red tide at the same time and clammers were advised to stop taking claims until it was over. We were told that that was how he got hepatitis. He said they were the best tasting clams he had ever eaten. The red tide does not affect the taste of the clams. He recovered, but years later he got leukemia and passed away. I always wondered if there was a connection.

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1 reply
luvmadolls2 hangey August 12 2014 at 9:20 PM

Sorry about the loss of your husband, but no - no relation. What is weird is - Red Tide hits the gulf of Mexico - not the Ocean. I guess they got their clams from Florida. I got Hepatitus B from drinking out of a dirty glass served to me one night at a very nice restaurant/showroom. Spent 6 weeks in the hospital. But there is no correlation of hepatitus and leukemia.

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johngin1999 August 12 2014 at 9:25 PM

Red tide washed into Wash DC 6 years ago. Due to ebb in 2016.

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