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State investigating whether Red Tide is to blame for fish kill, this time in Tampa

Dead fish have been washing up along the Hillsborough Bay shoreline at Bayshore Boulevard and Ballast Point Park.

TAMPA — The smell of dead fish belied the look of the place — the perfect portrait of a lazy summer day at Ballast Point Park.

Rain clouds hung heavy over the manicured playground and waterpark as dozens of children raced around in their bathing suits. A few fishermen cast their lines into the dark waters of the bay while families lounged at picnic tables, eating ice cream.

But at the watery edge of the park, along the Hillsborough Bay shoreline, hundreds of rotting fish and rusty red algae pooled among the mangroves, riprap and iconic Bayshore Boulevard balustrade.

State investigators are testing whether the culprit is Red Tide, as it has been with fish kills along Pinellas County’s waterways, perhaps fueled by the emergency pumping of wastewater from an old fertilizer plant at Port Manatee.