9 Dolphins Wash Up Dead Off Florida Coast
Nine bottlenose dolphins washed up dead in Florida.
All nine dolphins washed up within 36 hours in Sarasota County. Venice Police Marine Patrol found two dolphins dead on Aug.7, WFTS reported. They found another two on the morning of Aug. 8, and two more the afternoon of that same day. Then three more washed up Aug. 9.
“It is very difficult for us to deal with this kind of stuff. This isn’t something we normally have to deal with on a daily basis,” said Master Police Officer Paul Joyce.
The dolphins were found in various parts of the Sarasota County coastline. Mote Marine laboratory will perform necropsies to figure out the cause of death. They were found moderately to severely decomposed, making it difficult to analyze samples of their bodies.
Joyce suspects red tide is the cause of death. Red tide refers to a high concentration of algae. Red tides can produce toxic chemicals, harmful to animals and humans alike, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“It is very difficult for us to deal with this kind of stuff. This isn’t something we normally have to deal with on a daily basis,” said Joyce, via WFTS.
Fish, eel, turtles, and a manatee have been found dead recently, concurring with the time of the red tide outbreak.
“Red tide, unfortunately, is a very slow….very slow death. They’re basically suffocating,” said Joyce.
The current red tide outbreak is considered the worst in years. Algae blooms occur nearly every year in the Gulf of Mexico, 10 to 40 miles from the Florida shore, USA Today reported.
It’s not clear why the outbreak has been especially severe this year, but it could be due to Hurricane Irma, and an especially rainy fall and winter, according to Larry Brand, professor of marine biology and fisheries.