Burning eyes, dead fish; red tide flares up on Florida coast

Sarasota, Fla.: Residents are complaining about burning eyes and breathing problems. Dead fish have washed up on beaches. A beachside festival has been canceled, even though it wasn’t scheduled for another month.

Florida’s southwest coast experienced a flare-up of the toxic red tide algae this week, setting off concerns that it could continue to stick around for a while. The current bloom started in October.

The annual BeachFest in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, sponsored by a homeowners’ association, was canceled after it determined, with help from the city and the Pinellas County Health Department, that red tide likely would continue through the middle of next month when the festival was scheduled.

“Red Tide is currently present on the beach and is forecasted to remain in the area in the weeks to come,” the Indian Rocks Beach Homeowners Association said in a letter to the public. “It is unfortunate that it had to be canceled but it is the best decision in the interest of public health.”

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