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City provides daily update on fish kills, beach conditions

August 1, 2018
REPORTER STAFF REPORT ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The city of Sanibel continues the collection and removal of dead sea life that began on July 28.

Officials reported that crews removed 11 goliath grouper from the beaches today. On July 31, the city removed a total of 21 large carcasses - 19 goliath grouper and two tarpon - and thousands of smaller dead sea life.

Additional labor and equipment were also deployed today, including two boats to remove dead fish from the canals. Under the direction of the Sanibel Department of Public Works, the city has three basic operations underway to remove dead sea life from the island:

Article Photos

The city of Sanibel's contractual crews at Lighthouse Park on the bayside.

- Beach clean-up

- Canal clean-up and waterside removal

- "Rapid Response Team" primarily addressing large carcasses

Early today, additional contractual labor crews arrived and will continue to work on the beach in the five designated zones with a city employee to monitor and direct around sea turtle nests and such.

The Sanibel Boat Ramp has been prepared as the staging area for the canal and water-borne clean-up operations. The current plan is to bring all dead sea life back to the Public Works yard for hauling off-island by Advanced Disposal. Advanced Disposal deployed additional dumpsters to Public Works for debris disposal. At this time, public access to the boat ramp is permitted.

In addition to city employees and Crowder-Gulf - the city's hurricane debris removal contractor - the city has also deployed local landscapers, previously under contract with the city, to assist with the removal of the dead fish.

Large carcasses inventory for July 31:

- Goliath grouper: 19

Two at 150 pounds

One at 175 pounds

Four at 200 pounds

Two at 80 pounds

Ten at 40 pounds

- Tarpon: 2

One at 175 pounds

One at 250 pounds

FWC was on-site on July 31 to inspect the goliath grouper for research purposes.

Today's first light of day report from Public Works staff is as follows:

- Lighthouse Beach

Current Conditions: Poor

Red Tide: Very heavy presence

Odor: Strong

Deposits: Approximately 40 dead sea life every foot

- Sanibel Boat Ramp

Current Conditions: Fair

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Slight

Deposits: Approximately 10 dead sea life every 10 feet

- Algiers Beach (Gulfside City Park)

Current Conditions: Fair

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Present

Deposits: Approximately 20 dead sea life every 10 feet

- Tarpon Bay Beach

Current Conditions: Fair

Red Tide: Slight presence

Odor: Moderate

Deposits: Approximately five dead sea life every 10 feet

- Bowman's Beach

Current Conditions: Fair to good

Red Tide: Slight presence

Odor: Present

Deposits: Approximately 10 dead sea life every 10 feet

- Blind Pass

Current Conditions: Moderate

Red Tide: Slight to moderate presence

Odor: Present

Deposits: Approximately one dead sea life every foot

- Turner Beach Park

Current Conditions: Good to excellent

Red Tide: Not present

Odor: None

Deposits: None

Based on tides, winds and currents, the conditions may alter quickly and significantly.

If you encounter any dead sea life washed ashore on private property that is too large to be removed by hand, email address and location to and attach a photo if possible.

The city of Sanibel Departments of Public Works, Natural Resources and Administration will also be working on the clean-up. The Public Works phones at 239-472-6397 will be staffed on Aug. 4-5 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A large portion of the dead fish on the beach are catfish. The pectoral (side) fins and dorsal (top) fin contain sharp venomous spines; extreme care should be used when handling the fish. Beach-goers should also avoid stepping on dead catfish as some sharp barbs can even penetrate the sole of a shoe.



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