Red tide is a yearly phenomenon in Florida and has been documented along the Gulf Coast since the 1840s. From Sarasota to San Marco, red tides normally last for six months, but this year’s season is in month nine, and a second toxic algae has surfaced, exacerbating the problem.

Red Tide Rolls into August: Problems and Solutions  

Red tide was detected in Fort Myers with reports of respiratory irritation and fish kills almost two weeks ago. Since then, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency and issued an executive order allocating $1.5 million to state agencies in order to combat the algae outbreak.

Among the differing agencies, Mote Marine Laboratory was given $100,000 to help local scientists save distressed animals, but, hopefully, the laboratory has figured out a way to destroy the red tide and prevent future blooms.

Scientists there have already been using ozone, a gas with powerful oxidizing properties, to get rid of red tide in the sea water that they bring in for their marine animal and sea turtle hospitals. Richard H. Pierce, Vice President of Research and Senior Scientist, said, “We looked at that concept and thought, ‘Why can’t we do that in localized areas?’”

The work at Mote Marine Laboratory is promising as results show this system can kill all red tide cells in 150 gallons of water in 15 minutes. It has also passed all of their in-house testing, and the laboratory will begin using this system in the Boca Grande canals once they acquire proper permits.

In the meantime, don’t let red tide get in the way of your summer fun! Make the most of your time on the coast and support local businesses in the Fort Myers and Naples area, whose tourism industry is negatively impacted by red tide.

Things to Do Off the Beach in Fort Myers and Naples

Although the beaches are a huge draw, Fort Myers and Naples have plenty of other things to do that are just as fun, if not more!

Fort Myers offers a wealth of ways to explore its natural beauty beyond the beach like the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, Imaginarium Hands-On Museum and Aquarium, and Butterfly Estates. History buffs will particularly enjoy visiting the Southwest Florida Museum of History and the Edison & Ford Winter Estates as well as going on True Tours: Historic Walking Tour of Fort Myers.

Related content: Edison and Ford Winter Estates | American History in Fort Myers

If you want to do something more active or thrilling, Fort Myers also has you covered with HeadPinz Entertainment Center, Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Zoomers Amusement Park, and Germain Arena for ice skating. The city also has a number of mini-golf courses and breweries and distilleries, among them Fort Myers Brewing Company.

Like Fort Myers, Naples has a variety of places showcasing their lush environment and history like the Naples Botanical Garden, Museum of the Everglades, Naples Depot Museum, and Collier Museum at Government CenterThe Baker Museum has a substantial art collection, and the Golisano Children's Museum of Naples is perfect for families with small children.

Speaking of kids, your family can also take a walk on the wild side at Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens! And if you guys still miss the water, Naples has a water park called Sun-N-Fun Lagoon where you can swim and splash around to your heart’s content. Another place everyone will enjoy is Tin City, a unique shopping center with colorful, vintage shops on the waterfront reminiscent of Old Florida.

Related content: The 15 Best Water Parks in Florida

We don’t know when the red tide will clear, but we can definitely #EatPlayLoveLocal in Fort Myers and Naples to help their economies while still enjoying summer, too. Get out and support your local businesses! If you're a business owner, MyArea Network wants to help. Register with us on 239area for a free business page! 

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Cover photo courtesy of Unsplash