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
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. 

Scope and Content Note

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 an experienced fishing guide with nearly 40 years of fishing in Goodland, Florida. As a charter captain, he has encountered numerous red tide events throughout his career and witnessed their impact on fish populations. 

Scope and Content Note

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

Eddie Barnhill is a third-generation fisherman and the owner of Barnhill Fisheries. He has a deep passion for fishing and is committed to preserving historical knowledge and protecting the fishing industry's future. Eddie is concerned about the challenges posed by factors like overfishing, water quality issues, and climate change, and advocates for proper management and conservation efforts to ensure a sustainable future for the fishing community and marine ecosystems.

Scope and Content Note

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.

Scope and Content Note

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

Bryon Holland is an experienced fisherman with a passion for the waters off Johns Pass, where he has been fishing since 1984. With a background in commercial fishing and later transitioning to charter boat fishing, Bryon has extensive knowledge of the region's marine life and fishing patterns. 

Scope and Content Note

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.

Scope and Content Note

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

John Banyas is a fourth-generation fisherman from Cortez, Florida. He has dedicated his life to the fishing industry, learning the trade from his grandfather and engaging in various fishing techniques such as gill netting and purse seining. Banyas has become a vocal advocate for addressing the detrimental effects of red tide on the fishing industry, highlighting the decline in fish populations and the urgent need to improve water quality to ensure the sustainability of the fishery. 

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

Dave Zalewski is an experienced charter boat captain  from Madeira Beach. With over 35 years of expertise, he specializes in offshore fishing along Florida's coast. 

Scope and Content Note

Michael Jepson Madeira Beach, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Nick Ruland A History of Red Tide events on the West Coast of Florida

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 and wants an emergency reduction of the grouper quota.

Scope and Content Note:

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

Mike Davis is a commercial fisherman residing in Cortez.

Scope and Content Note

Michael Jepson Cortez, FL Southeast Fisheries Science Center