Originally published by The News-Press on August 8, 2022 by Chad Gillis

More than four years have passed since a devastating and deadly red tide ravaged Southwest Florida, killing off millions of tons of marine life and shutting down the local tourism industry.

And while late summer and early fall are when blooms typically initiate, red tide levels are at normal, background concentrations so far this year.

“I remember the (sea) turtles,” said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani of the 2018 outbreak. “That’s the one that got me. That really bothered me a lot. These creatures are 20, 30, 40 years old and they’re taken out of the subset of individuals and are not going to contribute anymore. I don’t think you can put lipstick on that pig.”

Red tide is a naturally occurring organism that sometimes takes over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, harming sea life while producing breathing irritation and coughing in humans.

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