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:
    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 Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Sean McQuade

The focus is on the 2018 event, but he does talk a lot about the degradation in water quality and the worsening of the red tide events. He argues that there are doubts that the recent events are red tides - at least in the sense that they are just natural occurrences. He thinks that the natural occurrences of red tides are amplified by degrading water quality. He spends quite a bit of time describing "the fence" - an area that is highly toxic and devoid/avoided by fish.

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

Nick Ruland is a fish house owner who has been in Fort Myers Beach for 30 years. He thinks we should involve fishers in water testing. He wants an emergency reduction of the grouper quota.

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

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

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

Interview with Mark Ratfield

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

Greg Abrams is a commercial fisherman, and owns a seafood business in Panama City. Abrams discusses mostly the changes in fisheries regulations through his time as a fisherman. 

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

Mark Ratfield is a 5th generation Floridian and commercial fisherman. Ratfield shares his stories of how difficult the fishery is in the Panama City Beach area. He recalls two distinct Red Tide events, in 2002 and 2016. 

Unknown Panama City, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida
Buster McKay

Buster McKay is an old-time Florida fisherman. He has been fishing throughout the gulf coast of Florida since the late 1940's. McKay shares his stories of the evolving fisheries in the area. The earliest Red Tide event, in the Panama City Beach area, he can remember was in the 1970's - where he didn't realize what it was. Since, Red Tide has revisited the region every 8-10 years or so. 

Matt McPherson Panama City, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida
Kenyon Ghandi

Kenyon Gandy is old-time Florida fisherman. He began fishing in 1948, and has been a commercial fisherman and owns a seafood market. Gandy narrates the evolution of the fishery in Panama City and gives insight on the history of the area. 

Matt McPherson Panama City, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida
Tom Marvel

Tom Marvel is a grouper fisher who has lived in Naples since 1969. He’s more concerned about the black water and yellow water events that he described than red tide. He talks extensively about grouper regulations, and possible grouper mortality caused by eating lionfish. 

Amanda Stoltz Naples, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

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