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City adds labor, equipment to force as daily fish kill cleanup continues

August 6, 2018
REPORTER STAFF REPORT ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The city of Sanibel ramped up its collection and removal of dead sea life over the weekend with additional labor and equipment as the east end of the island remained the greatest impacted.

Officials reported that Algiers Beach and its adjacent areas, Lighthouse Beach Park, and the Gulf side from Donax Street to Lighthouse Beach were among the heaviest hit locations, with beaches and canals requiring clean up. On Aug. 5, the city began working two shifts of beach crews in an effort to catch deposits from the second daily tide, and contractual labor and equipment were increased the day before.

The city removed 11 large carcasses eight goliath grouper and three tarpon on Aug. 5 and 15 large carcasses 14 goliath grouper and one tarpon on Aug. 4, along with thousands of smaller sea life.

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Officials reported that over 100 laborers were working throughout the weekend, not including the foremen and supervisors, in the five designated zones. Some of the contractual equipment augmenting the city's rolling and marine fleet include UTVs, tractors with dump trailers, extra boats and more.

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:

- Beach clean-up

- Canal clean-up and waterside removal

- "Rapid Response Team" primarily addressing large carcasses

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.

The first light of day report for Aug. 5 from Public Works staff was as follows:

- Lighthouse Beach

Current Conditions: Poor

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Strong

Deposits: Approximately 50 dead sea life every 10 feet

- Sanibel Boat Ramp

Current Conditions: Poor to fair

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Yes

Deposits: Approximately 20 dead sea life every 10 feet

- Algiers Beach (Gulfside City Park)

Current Conditions: Very poor

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Strong presence

Deposits: Approximately 50 dead sea life every 10 feet

- Tarpon Bay Beach

Current Conditions: Fair

Red Tide: Moderate presence

Odor: Present

Deposits: Approximately two dead sea life every 10 feet

- Bowman's Beach

Current Conditions: Fair

Red Tide: Heavy presence

Odor: Present

Deposits: Approximately 10 dead sea life every 50 feet

- Blind Pass

Current Conditions: Moderate

Red Tide: Slight to moderate

Odor: Slight

Deposits: Approximately 10 dead sea life every 10 feet

- Turner Beach Park

Current Conditions: Good to excellent

Red Tide: Not present

Odor: None

Deposits: Zero deposits of dead sea life

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.

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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