Some Sanibel beaches experienced major changes amidst the red tide crisis affecting Southwest Florida.
On Friday morning, city crews reported all Sanibel beaches from Lighthouse to Turner were in "very good" to "excellent" conditions.
“In the past few days, the numbers of fish dead washing up have reduced," Public Works Director for the City of Sanibel, Keith Williams said. "Conditions on the beach look to be better.”
Williams said crews with the City of Sanibel has collected over have a million pounds of dead fish thus far. On Friday, crews collected 30 bags from Bowman's Beach to Turner Beach in Captiva.
"Thirty garbage bags of fish is a small number compared to what we’ve seen in prior days," Williams said.
For the first time in weeks, families were swimming in the water and people crowded the shore of Tarpon Bay Beach.
“The first noticeable difference is we can breathe out here and not coughing consistently," visitor Jacob Abrims said.
Williams said red tide continues to surround the island. Moderate concentrations of red tide causing respiratory irritation are present on the Northwest end of the island, and fish kills still linger on bayside shores such as Lighthouse Beach Park. Recent wind changes over the past few days made beaches on the gulf-side of the island see some relief.
"We’re not holding our breath. We know that with any change in wind or current we could still see red tide," Williams said.
According to city officials, crews will be working to clean and rid the beaches of dead fish that wash ashore over the weekend.
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