BOCA GRANDE, Fla. - A Florida community is concerned after finding Boca Grande littered with dozens of dead animals.
Over the past five days, everything from eels to pufferfish -- and most strikingly, several goliath groupers, which can weigh up to 400 pounds -- have washed ashore, WPLG reports.
Fisherman Chris O'Neill has been working in the waters off Boca Grande for two decades, but said he's never seen anything like this.
"Hundreds of goliath grouper dead, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles. It's significant death to that ecosystem, " O'Neill said.
On Tuesday, O'Neill counted up to 40 dead goliath grouper. And it's not just the fish taking a hit -- he also spotted a dead manatee.
He believes red tide is to blame.
The most recent testing by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found medium to high concentrations of the harmful algae, which can turn the water red and orange.
The algae blooms are frequently found in the Gulf of Mexico and wind and currents can bring the red tide closer to shore.
FWC told WPLG its staff have been out in the field, identifying affected species, estimating the number of dead fish and obtaining samples from fish carcasses.