This is not the peak tourist season for the Gulf Coast. However, the menace of red tide and green slime algae bloom, along with innumerable dead fish that are washing up on the beaches have ruined the environment and affected tourism. The stench of the corpses has made life miserable for the people and the algae bloom has been drifting through the water for many months, posing a risk to the fish.

The Daily Mail UK reports that the algae extends for nearly 150 miles and residents of coastal areas from Naples to Anna Maria Island have to bear with the unhealthy situation.

The algae has turned the water toxic and the dead marine animals include not only fish but also turtles and manatees. It has not even spared a whale shark.

The menace of algae bloom

The amount of dead fish that are washing up is mindboggling. It appears to be in tons and there were even nine dolphins. That was in Sarasota County, and marine biologists are trying to establish whether the red tide algae was responsible. The number of dead and stranded sea turtles are also believed to be much higher than normal. In the opinion of experts, many of these deaths could be attributed to red tide poisoning.

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in seven counties along Florida's Gulf that are in the grip of the pungent bloom. He has also ordered $1.5 million to undertake cleanup operations and extend assistance to businesses that are feeling the effect of the reduced arrival of tourists.

Red algae bloom has led to health issues

According to The CNN, several instances of respiratory problems have surfaced in a number of Gulf Coast counties. Experts of the Florida Fish and Wildlife have confirmed that the state has to handle this toxic algae problem on a number of fronts. The red tide and green slime algae blooms are not only confined to marine lives but are also posing a risk to humans.

It is not only an issue related to health but also to the environment.

In Florida, these usually appear in October and are seen until winter. However, the present one has remained and is the longest stay since 2006. That was soon after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf of Mexico. On that occasion, the phenomenon lasted for nearly 17 months.

The current situation could be an offshoot of Hurricane Irma that had struck last year. The logic is simple – during storms, nutrients from fertilizer and wastes wash into the coastal waters and help the algae to survive and grow. The result is dead fish, turtles, and other marine creatures that litter the beaches.