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Lower volume of sea life on Sanibel's Gulf side, east canals

First reports of deposits in canals on west end

August 9, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The dead sea life deposits today on Sanibel are again lighter on the bayside, while yesterday marked the first reports of dead marine organisms in Dinkens Bay, Clam Bayou and the west end canals.

The city of Sanibel has released its first break of day reports. While the Gulf side of the island continues to receive lighter deposits for the fourth consecutive day, officials reported that the first deposits of sea life were seen on Aug. 8 at Dinkens Bay, Clam Bayou and the west end canals.

However, the city did see less volume in the east end canals on the same day. Prior to Aug. 8, crews were averaging 250 to 300 bags daily from the east end canals; on Aug. 8, the total was 80 bags.

Article Photos

CITY OF SANIBEL
City of Sanibel Environmental Specialist Dana Deltmar measures goliath grouper and tarpon carcasses to collect data for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

According to officials, approximately 535,095 pounds - 267 tons - of dead sea life had been collected and removed from the island's beaches as of the close of day Aug. 8. The total includes the carcass of a whale shark that came ashore on July 22, as well as 72 goliath grouper - totaling 7,245 pounds - and 14 tarpons, which totaled 1,825 pounds; the total does not include canal cleanup.

On Aug. 8, the city removed six large carcasses - two goliath grouper and four tarpon - and thousands of smaller dead sea life.

Two shifts of clean-up crews are continuing to work the beaches daily in an effort to catch deposits after the second tide of the day. Officials reported that the greatest deposits occur during low tide.

Large carcasses inventory for Aug. 8:

Goliath grouper

- One at 100 pounds

- One at 80 pounds

Tarpon

- Two at 100 pounds

- Two at 75 pounds

Today's first light of day report from Public Works staff is as follows:

- Lighthouse Beach

Current Conditions: Good at fishing pier area and fair at Gulf side

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Strong at fishing pier area and slight at Gulf side

Deposits: Approximately 10-15 dead sea life every 10 feet; no dead sea life present to surf at fishing pier area and dead sea life present in water at Gulf side

- Sanibel Boat Ramp

Current Conditions: Fair

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Present

Deposits: Approximately 13 dead sea life every 10 feet; dead sea life also floating in water near shore

- Algiers Beach (Gulfside City Park)

Current Conditions: Good

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Present

Deposits: Approximately three dead sea life every 10 feet; none present floating in water

- Tarpon Bay Beach

Current Conditions: Good to excellent

Red Tide: Low

Odor: Not present

Deposits: None present and none floating in water

- Bowman's Beach

Current Conditions: Fair

Red Tide: Not present

Odor: Not present

Deposits: Approximately four to five dead sea life every 10 feet; none present floating in water

- Blind Pass

Current Conditions: Good

Red Tide: Slight to moderate presence

Odor: Slight

Deposits: Approximately four to five dead sea life every 10 feet; none present floating in water

- Turner Beach Park

Current Conditions: Good to excellent

Red Tide: Not present

Odor: None

Deposits: None present and none floating in water

Based on tides, winds and currents, the conditions may alter quickly and significantly.

If you encounter any dead sea life washed ashore on private property that is too large to be removed by hand, email address and location to j.zimomra@mysanibel.com and attach a photo if possible.

A large portion of the dead fish on the beach are catfish. The pectoral (side) fins and dorsal (top) fin contain sharp venomous spines; extreme care should be used when handling the fish. Beach-goers should also avoid stepping on dead catfish as some sharp barbs can even penetrate the sole of a shoe.

Under the direction of the Sanibel Department of Public Works, the city has three basic operations underway to remove dead sea life from the island:

- Beach clean-up

- Canal clean-up and waterside removal

- "Rapid Response Team" primarily addressing large carcasses

The Sanibel Boat Ramp is the staging area for the canal and water-borne clean-up operations. All dead sea life is being loaded into dumpsters at the beach for transport off-island or transported back to the Public Works yard for disposal or to be hauled off-island by Advanced Disposal. Additional dumpsters have been deployed to Public Works for debris disposal. At this time, public access to the boat ramp is permitted.

Officials noted that the state has made an additional $400,000 available to Lee County for local waterway cleanups. In addition, the Lee County Tourism Development Council today endorsed an "open-ended" amount to be allocated from the bed tax reserves to assist with the cleanup costs.

The Lee County TDC also endorsed allocation of an additional $1 million in bed tax reserves for a marketing campaign once the beaches are clear of dead sea life. The bed tax is a 5 percent county tax collected by the county on short-term rentals, such as hotels, motels, condominiums and campsites.

Sanibel Councilwoman Holly Smith represents the city on the TDC.

 
 

 

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