SANIBEL , FL - AUGUST 01: Fish are seen washed ashore the Sanibel causeway after dying in a red tide on August 1, 2018 in Sanibel, Florida. Red tide season usually lasts from October to around February, but the current red tide has stayed along the coast for around 10 months, killing massive amounts of fish as well as sea turtles, manatees and a whale shark swimming in the area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Worst 'Red Tide' in a Decade Is Killing Florida's Marine Animals

The toxic algae bloom is taking a heavy toll.

From Sarasota County in the north to Collier County in the south, Florida’s Gulf Coast has been plagued this year by an unusually persistent “red tide.” The tide, a toxic algae bloom, has killed countless fish, hundreds of sea turtles and seabirds, manatees, and a whale shark.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 27: (AUSTRALIA OUT) Clovelly Beach in Sydney is closed as a red algal bloom, commonly known as sea sparkle, drifts in on the tide, on November 27, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. The algae has left Bondi Beach and has reopened, but Clovelly Beach remains closed with the red water remaining. (Photo by Edwina Pickles/The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images). The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images In certain conditions, the toxic algae can actually change the color of the tides, as in this picture of Clovelly Beach in Sydney, Australia, from November 2012. But even when they're less "red," these blooms can still be harmful.

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SANIBEL, FL - AUGUST 01: Dead fish line the shoreline along the Sanibel causeway after dying in a red tide on August 1, 2018 in Sanibel, Florida. Red tide season usually lasts from October to around February, but the current red tide has stayed along the coast for around 10 months, killing massive amounts of fish as well as sea turtles, manatees and a whale shark swimming in the area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Joe Raedle/Getty Images Red tides are a seasonal phenomenon in southwest Florida: They typically stretch from the late summer or early fall through the winter or spring. This year's tide has already lasted nine months or more. Local officials say it's the worst in over a decade. SANIBEL, FL - AUGUST 01: A Goliath grouper is seen washed ashore the Sanibel causeway after dying in a red tide on August 1, 2018 in Sanibel, Florida. Red tide season usually lasts from October to around February, but the current red tide has stayed along the coast for around 10 months, killing massive amounts of fish as well as sea turtles, manatees and a whale shark swimming in the area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Joe Raedle/Getty Images A Goliath grouper, killed by toxic algae, on the shore in Sanibel. SANIBEL, FL - AUGUST 01: Veterinarian Dr. Heather Barron, from the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, checks the health of a kemp's ridley sea turtle that was found washed ashore after becoming sick in the red tide on August 1, 2018 in Sanibel, Florida. Dr. Barron said, 'this year's red tide is absolutely the worst she has seen for adult sea turtles,' as they rehabilitate some of the turtles being found needing help. Red tide season usually lasts from October to around February, but the current red tide has stayed along the coast for around 10 months, killing massive amounts of fish as well as sea turtles, manatees and a whale shark swimming in the area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Joe Raedle/Getty Images Dr. Heather Barron, director of the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, examines a Kemp's ridley sea turtle that washed up, sick, on the shore in Sanibel. CAPTIVA, FL - AUGUST 01: Veterinarian Dr. Heather Barron, from the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, cares for a Loggerhead sea turtle that was found washed ashore after becoming sick in the red tide on August 1, 2018 in Sanibel, Florida. Dr. Barron said, 'this year's red tide is absolutely the worst she has seen for adult sea turtles,'. Red tide season usually lasts from October to around February, but the current red tide has stayed along the coast for around 10 months, killing massive amounts of fish as well as sea turtles, manatees and a whale shark swimming in the area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Joe Raedle/Getty Images Dr. Barron attends to a loggerhead sea turtle harmed by the red tide. CAPTIVA, FL - AUGUST 01: A Red fish is seen washed ashore after dying in a red tide on August 1, 2018 in Captiva, Florida. Red tide season usually lasts from October to around February, but the current red tide has stayed along the coast for around 10 months, killing massive amounts of fish as well as sea turtles, manatees and a whale shark swimming in the area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Joe Raedle/Getty Images According to the New York Times, "the extent to which climate change is affecting the blooms at sea is unclear."



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