SARASOTA- Sea life is dying and people are sick all because of Red Tide.
“It is a natural phenomenon, whether or not it’s exacerbated by human activity and human nutrients that are coming from land. That’s certainly possible, we certainly cannot rule that out,” said Dr. Vincent Lovok.
But, can something be done to stop these neurotoxins from making us sick and killing marine life.
“This particular organism has been here for a very long time. There’s anecdotal information from Spanish explorers that indicate that blooms were occurring in the 1500s. There’s more official reports of similar activity and similar phenomenon in the 1800s and it was in early 1947 it was identified, the organism causing these events,” said Lovko.
An organism with dangerous effects beyond just a bad cough.
One thing you can do is watch what you eat. Fileted fish and fish caught near the shore are safe. Shell fish aren’t.
“Filter feeders so they basically pass water through their bodies filtering out particals,” said Lovko. “So anything that eats the shellfish then will get those toxins. That’s why shellfish beds are closed during red tide.”
Right now, researchers use satellites to find the areas affected by red tide.
With funding, Dr. Vincent Lovko, a scientist at Mote Marine Aquarium and Laboratory, thinks technology will help us know when red tide is on our beaches months in advance, possibly allowing researchers to do something about it in advance.
“something else the public can do is tell their local officials to support red tide funding,” said Lovko. “Funding is what allows us to do the research. A it helps us identify where the red tide is and also it helps us to identify the conditions associated with it,” said Lovko.