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City issues guidance for property owners removing dead fish

By CITY OF SANIBEL - | Dec 18, 2020

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other agencies are reporting the presence of a patchy red tide bloom along the shore and up to 20 miles offshore of Lee and Collier counties, the city of Sanibel reported on Dec. 17. Two days earlier, the Lee County Health Department issued a red tide health alert for Lighthouse Beach Park.

City officials reported that the extent of the bloom and its impacts to Sanibel’s beaches, including possible fish kills and respiratory irritation, can vary greatly from day to day and even hour to hour depending on winds, tides and currents. The city is monitoring the conditions very closely.

As of Dec. 17, the Sanibel Public Works Department was picking up dead fish along the public beaches as the conditions warranted. Property owners and managers are authorized to remove dead fish from the beach along their respective properties. Officials reported that anyone removing fish from the beach must adhere to the following guidelines:

– Only dead fish may be removed from the beach. This ensures that beach habitat for Sanibel’s wildlife is protected during the cleanup process.

– Dead fish may only be removed by hand, using hand tools such as pitch forks or grabbers. The use of shovels and mechanical equipment is strictly prohibited.

– All fish should be double bagged and placed in an onsite dumpster for disposal.

– At this time, no large sea life has been impacted. If you have large fish, marine mammals or sea turtles that are too large to handle, contact the Sanibel Police dispatch at 239-472-3111.

– No motorized vehicles are permitted on the beach and only those vehicles authorized by the city manager may be used in cleanup activities.

To report a fish kill to the FWC, call the FWC Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511 or complete the online form available at https://public.myfwc.com/FWRI/FishKillReport/Submit.aspx.

For current red tide conditions and forecasts, visit:

– Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

https://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/

– GCOOS’s Red Tide Forecast

https://habscope.gcoos.org/forecasts

– Lee County Health Department

http://lee.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/environmental-health/healthy-beaches/red-tide.html

Additional information on red tide is available online at:

http://www.mysanibel.com/Departments/Natural-Resources/Protecting-Our-Water-Quality/Sanibel-H2O-Matters/Red-Tide-Information

https://www.leevcb.com/water-quality-red-tide-information

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/hab/gomx.html

For more information, contact the Sanibel Natural Resources Department at 239-472-3700.