South Florida Oceans are in Deep Trouble!


Chase Bagnall-Koger

Florida’s Key Biscane Beach is one of the many affected by the red tide of algae.

Mark Snyder, Staff Writer

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on Monday, Aug. 15, due to a rapid accumulation of algae in the water system known as the red tide. Caused by algal blooms, the ‘red tide’ is when certain types of algae become so numerous that they discolor coastal waters and give them a red tinge.

The algae are creating a major problem in the delicate South Florida ecosystem- the organisms are the cause of a dolphin-killing epidemic and a drastic reduction in the population of some native fish. The red tides are harmful to the sea life because some of these algae produce toxins that can kill marine organisms. Fish are the most prone to death because their gills cannot process an excess of the chemical k. Brevis, which is produced by algae in large amounts.

Pullquote Photo

My thoughts on the red tide are that it’s mother nature’s way of showing us how humanity’s impact on the environment is reflected in a way that our environment responds to our interaction.

— freshman Gabriel Wagner

The red tides stretch in a 150-mile radius from Tampa Bay down to the Florida Keys, affecting not only the sea life but also the residents of this area. There have been several reports of respiratory problems leading to hospitalization from the locals living near the ocean. Residents of Sarasota County have seen the worst effects, with fifty percent of all hospital visits being attributed to contact with the red tide.

Though tourism has always been an essential part of Florida’s economy, the number of tourists that usually swarm the Florida beaches decreased immensely. Tourists don’t want to be around- not only is it harmful to their health, but also the beaches have an unpleasant stench and a disturbing view of dead fish washed up onshore.

“I love the beach and the red tide has disturbed my visits. Someone should do something to fix it,” administrator Kathy Napoli said.

With this absence comes empty hotel rooms, unbooked restaurant reservations and a decrease in business for local companies. In an effort to relieve this, Gov. Rick Scott has given half a million dollars to the businesses and local communities affected by the red tide.

Additionally, the governor has promised that 1.5 million dollars of state funding will be allocated to relieve the red tides epidemic. The clean-up and animal rescue plans are being organized by a team of state-appointed biologists and scientists and carried out by a combination of employees and local volunteers.  The plan is seeing some success- workers at Longboat Key have already picked up five tons of dead fish- but the beaches have a ways to go before they can be considered clear.

At Coral Gables Senior High, we are a close-knit community, and, just for the sake of safety, please be advised that “red tides” are dangerous and may lead to respiratory problems and other health-related issues. Try to stay away from the beaches as long as the state of emergency is still enforced.