Minimal red tide confirmed offshore in Cedar Key; fishermen say they see no impacts

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
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CEDAR KEY, Fla. (WCJB) - Red tide has been confirmed offshore in Cedar Key but some fishermen have not seen anything inshore.

TV20 reported earlier this year that the constant flow of the water, as well as fresh water mixing from the Suwannee River, prevents red tide.

However, some residents have reported sightings of dead fish and an unpleasant stench over the last several days.

Captain Jason Clark, a Cedar Key native and lifelong fisherman said the fishy smell happens every year as the tide recedes.

“We get lower tides in the winter so all that mud that never sees the light of day, this time through April will be exposed,” Clark explained.

Clark said he is thankful to fish in an area that does not typically deal with red tide.

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“We’re just blessed to be in this area. In my entire life, I’ve never seen it inshore. We get a little bit here and there offshore but not enough to affect anything,” Clark said.

Water tests done by the Florida Fish & Wildlife show minimal amounts of red tide north of Cedar Key. Captain Danny Allen said they would feel the impacts if it had gotten worse. He has yet to see a dead fish on his daily trips out to the Gulf.

“Otherwise, I’d have to say the numbers from the tests would be much higher. We’d have a little bit of a red flag there and obviously, we’d see a lot of dead fish of some sort,” stated Allen.

Clark says if the red tide was as bad as it gets further south in Florida, it would destroy their local economy. Residents say the fishing and clamming community are the main economic drivers in town.

“A lot of people come here to go fishing, have a good time, the clammers are out there clamming to make money for their family, it would kill a local community like this for awhile,” explained Clark.

Red tide typically lessens in the winter months, and both Allen and Clark said they hope this is the last they hear of it for the long term.

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