Red Tide kills thousands of fish in Siesta Key

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It is believed a combination of coastal pollution and nutrient-laden water being flushed into the warm waters of the gulf from Lake Okeechobee have caused the particularly severe red tide. The county has also provided dumpster sites for residents as far south as Bonita Springs to dispose of dead fish.

The state wildlife agency says red tide, a type of algae, has been a naturally occuring phenomenon along Florida's Gulf Coast since at least the 1840s and that blooms occur almost every year in the Gulf of Mexico. Tissue taken from the whale shark's organs and muscles tested positive for brevetoxin, a neurotoxin created by the algae.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, almost 300 sea turtles have died since a red tide algae bloom started late previous year between Sarasota and Collier counties.

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"Many people will tell you that this is the worst they have ever seen", Jacylin Bevis, a reporter with the NBC affiliate in Fort Myers, Florida, told NBC News. Bill Nelson, a Democrat who is being challenged by Scott in the November election, said Thursday that he has asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the potential health impacts of exposure to algae that has spread in waterways along both coasts.

K. brevis produces neurotoxins that can sicken and kill fish, seabirds, turtles and other marine life.

Harvesting of shellfish like clams, oysters or mussels in a Red Tide area is banned.

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Most algae blooms are beneficial to the ocean, providing a source of food for marine creatures.

All we do know is that marine life is dying, and there are two different types of algae.

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