The bodies of many different species of marine life – including fish, sea turtles, eels, goliath groupers and even manatees – have been washed ashore at Boca Grande beach in Florida last week.
Officials with the Florida Fish and Animal Welfare Commission told ABC10 that "red tide" is likely to cause deaths.
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A red tide, formally known as harmful algae bloom (HAB), occurs "Seaweed colonies – simple plants that live in the sea and in fresh water – grow out of control and cause toxic or harmful effects on humans, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds, "said the National Ocean Service.
This bloom, like many HABs, is caused by microscopic algae that produce toxins that kill fish and make shellfish dangerous to eat. The toxins can also make it difficult to breathe the ambient air. As the name implies, the algae bloom often turns the water red, "the service said.
A red tide is not uncommon, especially along Florida's Gulf Coast, but the effects can be deadly to life in the sea.
"Hundreds of Goliath grouper dead, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles. It's a significant death for this ecosystem, "Chris Boa Grande's long fisherman Chris O'Neill, who posted a video on Facebook documenting Dead Sea Life, told the news channel.
" The larger fish are hit in large numbers and that's what has really affected me, "he added.
On Friday afternoon, the fishery video had more than 2 million views and 5,000 reactions.
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"The FWC takes this matter very seriously," spokeswoman Melody Kilborn told ABC10, adding that the organization "the identified species "and working to determine how many fish have died.