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Red tide causes ‘thousands’ of fish kills on Manatee County’s coast

This past weekend, beachgoers on Anna Maria Island in Manatee County witnessed thousands of dead fish and other marine life wash ashore from red tide poisoning.

On Wednesday, there wasn't really evidence of the massive fish kill that happened on Holmes Beach just a few days before, but there was a lingering odor of dead fish.

And there were clues on the beach: scattered fish bits left after seagulls picked the carcasses apart. And yet, tourists like Carl Bear still walked the shoreline. He was there when red tide hit this area, and saw it all.

"It looked like blood was rolling up on the waves. We saw dead fish-- thousands-- can't count 'em." He said. "It's just so bad, and eels, and all kinds of different size of fishes."

Bear is from Pennsylvania and has been vacationing here every summer for the last eight years.

"This is the first year we ever had any trouble down here," he said.

Manatee officials have been keeping beaches on Anna Maria Island mostly clear of dead fish, but beachgoers were still coughing from the toxic red tide bloom on Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach on Wednesday, August 8.

Bear and his family avoided red tide that day by traveling north to Pinellas County's Fort De Soto, but at a resort just about a mile south, they're finding not all visitors are willing to stick around.

Cory Huffman manages the Bungalow Beach Resort. She said in the past 20 years that she’s worked there, they’ve maybe only had a cancellation or two due to red tide.