A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Matthew McPherson, Mandy Karnauskas, Suzana Blake
  • This collection was created during the 2017-2018 red tide event that had major ecosystem impacts on the west coast of Florida. Fish harvesters and related businesses suffered major setbacks during this time. Fishers, with a long history on the water and oftentimes second or third generation involved in the fishing business, reminisce about how the ecosystem has changed during their and their families time and the red tides they have witnessed. The collection provides information on species affected, specific areas affected, as well as discussions related to adaptation behaviors and specific business impacts.

Interviewee Collection Sort descending Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation
Bill Burk A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

Started working in Clearwater in the 70s. He’s done commercial fishing and chartering. He says clearwater was only minorly affected by the 2018 red tide and talks a lot about how the area and fishing has changed over time. 

Michael Jepson, Mandy Karnauskas Clearwater, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Ralph Andrew A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

Interview with Ralph Andrew

Amanda Stoltz, Karla Gore Fort Myers, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Mark Ratfield A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

Interview with Mark Ratfield

Suzana Blake Panama City, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Brad Gorst A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

Brad Gorst fishes offshore (commercial and charter) in the grouper snapper fishery as well as for kingfish and Spanish mackerel. He has been in business in Clearwater since 1973. The red tide in 2018 didn’t impact him but the decrease in tourism impacted his bookings for his charter business. 

Mandy Karnauskas Clearwater, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Kevin Bellington A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

Kevin Bellington is a charter captain operating out of Goodland. Bellington gives a detail account of Red Tide events in the past twenty years. The earliest, significant Red Tide he remembers was in 2002. The 2018 Red Tide event was the most intense Red Tide he has ever witnessed.

Mandy Karnauskas, Suzana Blake Goodland, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Eddie Barnhill A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

Makes the connection between the fishing season, spawning season and the period when the RT intensifies (November through Dcember) - particularly bad for crab and mullet

Suzana Blake Fort Myers Beach, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Joe Croke A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

Joe Croke is a recent commercial fisherman, who started fishing in the Cortez area in 2008. Croke describes one Red Tide event in 2018, where he illustrates the area and species affected. 

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Bryon Holland A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

Interview with Bryon Holland

Michael Jepson, Amanda Stoltz Madeira Beach, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Lou Bagget A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

Lou Baggett is a 5th generation Floridian fisherman. He was once a commercial fisherman, and now mostly employs charter services. In this interview, Baggett enlightens us on the rapid, environmental changes occurring in southwest Florida.  The most intense Red Tide he has experienced was in 2013, which he attributes to a phosphate dumping event. 

Suzana Blake Fort Myers Beach, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
John Banyas A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

John Banyas is a 4th generation fisherman from Cortez. Banyas is very active in the fishery and holds immense knowledge that has been passed down through his family. Banyas recalls that Red Events would occur every six years or so; however, they became more frequent and intense. He has heard from first hand accounts that there was a very bad red tide in Cortez in 1921.

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center