Public Works Department personnel are picking up dead fish along Sanibel's public beaches as conditions warrant.
Property owners and managers are authorized to remove dead fish from the beach along their respective properties, however, anyone removing fish from the beach should adhere to recommended guidelines:
Only dead fish may be removed from the beach. This ensures that beach habitat for Sanibel's wildlife is protected during the cleanup process.
Dead fish may only be removed by hand, using hand tools such as pitch forks or grabbers. The use of shovels and mechanical equipment is strictly prohibited.
All fish should be double bagged and placed in an onsite dumpster for disposal.
For large fish, marine mammals or sea turtles that are too large to handle, please contact the Sanibel Police dispatch at 472-3111.
Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the beach and only those vehicles authorized by the City Manager may be used in cleanup activities.
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Research Institute is reporting a red tide bloom extending from Sarasota to Monroe counties. The bloom has been patchy in nature and currently is affecting approximately 120 miles of shoreline, with highest concentrations reported in Pine Island Sound during the past week.
Sanibel Police, Natural Resources and Public Works departments have been closely monitoring beach conditions over the past several days. Dead fish and noticeable respiratory irritation had been reported along all of Sanibel's beaches on Feb. 26.
As red tide blooms approach coastal areas, breaking waves can cause the toxin to become mixed with sea spray, resulting in an aerosol. People exposed to red tide blooms can experience varying degrees of eye, nose, and throat irritation similar to cold symptoms. These symptoms usually go away once a person leaves the affected area.
People with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic lung disease, are cautioned to avoid red tide areas.